Today: February 22, 2024

Drunken Master

Frequently ranked as one of the greatest martial arts films of all time, Drunken Master revolutionised modern action cinema. It also introduced the world to martial arts superstar Jackie Chan, who burst onto the scene in 1978 with a one-two punch of kung fu masterpieces.

Rather than try to ape Bruce Lee, Chan knew that his skills lay in physical comedy and breathtaking, ingenious moves. Drunken Master, with its slapstick and flawlessly choreographed fights, was his second outing and the one that really showcased his talents.

Chan plays Wong Fei-hung – a legendary Chinese folk hero – who is punished for his frequent troublemaking by being forced to study under the martial arts master Su Hua Chi (Yuen Siu-tien), who is as notorious for his drinking as he is for leaving his students crippled. Wong proves himself to be a keen student, and his new skills are quickly put to the test when his father is targeted by a brutal assassin (Hwang Jang Lee).

In many ways, Drunken Master has all the tropes that you’d expect from a 1970s kung fu movie. Lots of macho posturing, some (very minor) sexism, and car-doors slamming whenever someone is punched. The fun comes when you realise that the Drunken Master actually has to be drunk to be any good at his own ‘secret’ style of kung fu – and much of the humour comes from the Keaton-esque moves that ensure.

Chan and Yuen Siu-tien are never less than entertaining and, while modern audiences might appreciate some faster cuts and less comedic mugging, this is dazzling stuff. Forget The Matrix. This is the real deal. No strings. No SFX. Drunken Master showcases Chan at the hight of his powers – as sure-footed as a goat, and as elastic as Mr Fantastic.

Eureka’s 4K digital transfer comes complete with the original Cantonese soundtrack  and alternate English and Mandarin audio options. Interviews with Chan and audio commentaries by Hong Kong film experts, Ric Meyers and Jeff Yang, are both enlightening and entertaining.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

Previous Story

How to Cook Tofu

Next Story


Latest from Blog


Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Slaughter in San Francisco

A gloriously trashy slice of kung fu film-making, Slaughter in San Francisco, AKA Yellow-Faced Tiger, was producer Raymond Chow’s attempt to capitalise on Hong Kong cinema’s sudden explosion of popularity in the West. Released in 1974,

Head Count

That the Burghart Brothers know how to make a fun film is apparent five minutes into Head Count. The fact that they’ve been able to produce such a deliciously slick, dark comedy,

The Daleks in Colour Unboxing

BBC took a big risk with The Daleks in Colour – fans of Doctor Who are notorious for their passionate and purist approach to their beloved series, so to not only colourise
Go toTop

Don't Miss

Police Story 3: Supercop

Regularly appearing on lists of the best action films ever

Milla Jovovich Could Join The Expendables

Milla Jovovich, no stranger to action having starred in the