I can say the following with a certainty that would surprise most of you (except for you folks that know me from Shovel): this film contains the greatest fight scenes ever captured on film. Note: don’t even think about offering another example. Whatever film you’re thinking of, this is my answer, "Yeah, I’ve seen that and the fights in this are better."
I’ve seen this film probably five times (the film was originally released in 1994 as Drunken Master 2, the long awaited sequel to 1978’s Drunken Master, Chan’s first big hit) and there are two things that stick out in my memory: The fights and, to a lesser degree, the lovely and talented Anita Mui’s scene stealing performance as Chan’s mom (which is funny since she’s ten years younger than Jackie and looks twenty.) But, for perspective’s sake, her performance sticks out like a really tall guy on the train whereas the fights stick out like a super- tanker run aground in the middle of the Boston Common.
Okay, so this version is dubbed- which sucks and other than the fights this film isn’t exactly Chan’s best (Dragons Forever, for example, is funnier and it’s plot holds up better under close scrutiny), but the action is so good that this one could be a highlight reel interspersed with 15 minutes of white noise and I’d still recommend the film heartily. The finale alone is worth the price of admission. Oh, and since you’ll wonder after watching it, the guy Jackie fights in it is his real life bodyguard, Ken Lo Wai-Kwong. He’s a badass.
And if enough people see it, I’ll stop getting funny looks when I tell people my domain name- DrunkenFist.com. Instead of a confused/ disgusted, "what is that some ultra-hardcore porn site?" I’ll get more "Oh, like drunken style kung fu?" That would make me very happy.
Check it out.
Originally published in Boston's Weekly Dig (now digBoston) in October 2000.