The Legend of Drunken Master (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

It seems as though some British forces want some Chinese artifacts, but instead of working out a deal with the Chinese government, the British have a more underhanded plan in mind. That plan involves sending in some British numbers, who will then take the desired artifacts and smuggle them back home, seems like a simple enough plan. But when some local loyalists learn of this crooked plan, they decide to teach the British a lesson, with their hands and feet. At the same time, Wong Fei Hung (Jackie Chan) and his father are traveling home from the store, only to find themselves right in the middle of the skirmish. The real battles have not yet begun of course, but now Wong Fei Hung has been pulled into the conflict, which means someone is in serious trouble. You see, Hung is a master of the drunken boxing style of combat, which means he is very quick and agile, but seems to be drunken and off balance. Can Wong Fei Hung and his fellow loyalists prevent the British from stealing their priceless treasures, or is this a battle they simply cannot win?

I was very pleased to learn that Dimension was releasing The Legend of Drunken Master to Blu-ray, as it stands as one of the great martial arts films of all time. I’ve always been a fan of martial arts action pictures, but this one blew me away and after you’ve seen so many of these movies, that can be difficult indeed for a film to do. After a brief return to theaters, The Legend of Drunken Master (also known as Drunken Master II) has arrived on our beloved format and while some problems surface, this is still a terrific presentation. But more on the disc later in the review, let’s talk about what makes this movie so fantastic. As fans of Jackie Chan know, he is known for his creative use of locations and props, which he involves in the action sequences, to keep the fights fresh and entertaining. Well, Chan takes that to a new level in this film, as The Legend of Drunken Master supplies some of the most complex, dazzling scenes ever, which is a real compliment indeed. The final sequence is stunning to say the least, but the entire movie is loaded with great scenes, so make sure not to skip around on this one. This disc does have a very brief sequence cut from the end, but in this case, I think that serves the film well, as few cared for that very lame piece that was trimmed. If you’re a fan of martial arts or action movies, then this is nothing less than a must own title, so don’t hesitate to add this to your collection.

Of all the actors in the business, Jackie Chan is my personal favorite, so of course I am pleased to own another of his films on our beloved format. I happen to like most of his efforts, but this one is above and beyond most of his films, as he literally explodes across the screen. Chan always supplies action thrills, but here he takes the stunts and fights to new levels, even fans of his will be amazed with some of the scenes found in The Legend of Drunken Master. It is a pleasure to see Chan in such excellent form here, he seems to be in the zone at all times, which means a plethora of wall to wall action. Although this disc uses an English dubbed track, Chan does supply his own voice and that adds a lot to his performance also. If you’re a fan of Chan or martial arts cinema, this is one performance you simply cannot miss. Other films with Chan include Rush Hour, Mr. Nice Guy, Rumble In The Bronx, Project A, Shanghai Noon, and Operation Condor. The cast here also includes Anita Mui (The Enforcer, The Heroic Trio), Ken Lo (A Man Called Hero, Gorgeous), Ti Lung (A Better Tomorrow II, A Killer’s Blues), and Andy Lau (Running Out of Time, Full Throttle).

Video: How does it look?

The Legend of the Drunken Master is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I can say that this is the best looking home video release of this film, but that isn’t much of a compliment. As with previous incarnations, the colors look off, contrast is wavering, and detail leaves a lot to be desired. A few scenes do look quite good here though, with great depth, but most fall into the subpar realm, at least as far as high definition is concerned. So yes, this looks better than the DVD, but beyond that don’t expect all that much here.

Audio: How does it sound?

Sadly, this release continues the tradition of not including the original Cantonese soundtrack. Instead we have a DTS HD 5.1 option in English, which does sound quite good. A dub in this case isn’t all that bad, given that even the original Cantonese audio is also dubbed, so this is kind of a push. I’d still like to have the choice, however. This track has good surround presence, but of course isn’t as refined as most other action flick audio presentations. This disc also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The lone supplement is a brief interview with Jackie Chan.

Disc Scores

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