Tag Archives: hk style

Action, HK Style – Drunken Master (1978)

Director: Yuen Woo-Ping
Starring: Jackie Chan, Simon Yuen Siu Tien, Hwang Jang-Lee, Lam Kau, Linda Lin Ying

Jackie Chan returns as the young and reckless Wong Fei-Hong whose antics upset his dad (Lam Kau) and also his auntie (Linda Lin) who he ends up fighting by accident not knowing who she is.

When Fei Hung gets into one too many fights, his dad decides to send him off for harsh training with Beggar So (Yuen Siu Tien), but the youngster says “bugger this” and runs away trying to avoid it, only to run in him any way when he tries to scam a free meal at a restaurant and ends being beaten up for his trouble. Beggar So pretty much kidnaps him back to his shack and puts him through harsh training. The one time he tries to escape he ends up being beaten up and humiliated by Thunderleg (Hwang Jang-Lee) who doesn’t think he is even worth killing.

After trying to trick his master into not drinking during a fight, Wong Fei Hong finally learns the secret of Drunken Kung Fu and just in time as a rival of his dad’s wants to put out a hit on him and has called in a contract killer.

I understand that this was made not long after Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow and it makes sense that they would use the same actors and director. Some people complain about there being too many sequels in Hollywood, they have not seen anything when it comes to Hong Kong. The original Wong Fei-Hong movies made in the 1940s and 1950s numbered in the hundreds even including Wong Fei Hong’s Battle with the Gorilla and Wong Fei-Hong’s Seven Battles with the Fiery Unicorn. They were also dead serious and all played by the same actor. Kids in Hong Kong would have grown up with them so it would have been like someone doing a funny movie about Dr Who or a beloved 80s kid’s show these days.

With the majority of the movie being taken up with the training sequences, they would want to be good training techniques and they do their job quite well. Once we finally get to see the drunken boxing it does not disappoint with the young impulsive Fei-Hong deciding not to practice one stance as it was “for girls” leaving him in a bind when he had to use it.

Lam Kau as Wong Fei-Hong’s dad does look very fearsome and like he could beat up Jackie Chan in real life. Linda Lin as his aunty also puts in a great performance and I wish she had more than just the one fight scene in the movie.

Simon Yuen retains his ability as Beggar So to steal every scene in he is in by just being in the shot. He does not seem to do as much fighting in this one, preferring to leave Jackie’s character to do most of the work.

The movie seems to end rather abruptly, but at least you do get to see the big fight scene at the end where the evil dude gets his comeuppance. Jackie Chan supposedly almost lost an eye filming the final fight scene, not having learnt to stay clear of Hwang Jang-Lee’s kicks after getting his teeth bashed out in the previous film.

Comparing this film to Drunken Master II would be unfair as there is sixteen years between them. While it is recommended you watch this with Snake in Eagle’s Shadow, it stands up just as well on its own and is well worth tracking down if you want to see the early work of Jackie Chan.

Action, HK Style Report

Australian Cinémathèque, at Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
18th – 20th October 2013

Full program runs 6th September – 8th November 2013

I was actually doing something for work when I found out about this screening program. No doubt I would have eventually heard about them from someone else, but not so early and I would have already had something on all the weekends I wanted to come up.

As I could not find it on the website at the time, I quickly put together a calendar for the three months with all the screenings marked out to try and pick out a good weekend to go up. September was already a washout unless I went up on the weekend of the Federal Election, although Drunken Master was appropriate for the night and I had booked tickets to see the Handsome Family in October.

Action, HK Style screenings September 2013

Action, HK Style screenings October 2013

Action, HK Style screenings November 2013

I found out about the program in mid-August when I was still recovering from going to see 20 movies in 10 days as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival and after thinking about it for a week or so booked my flights and accommodation. I also went and found the tailers for 69 of the 70 movies (could not find King Kong in the Heavenly Palace) http://blog.timchuma.com/?p=202

The dates I narrowed it down to were as follows:
Friday 4th October 2013
A Better Tomorrow
A Better Tomorrow 2

Saturday 5th October 2013
The Big Boss
Fist of Fury
Bullet in the Head
Hard Boiled

Sunday 6th October 2013
The Killer

Friday 18th October 2013
Drunken Master
Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow

Saturday 19th October 2013
Aces Go Places
Pedicab Driver
God of Gamblers
Kung Fu Hustle

Sunday 20th October 2013
Dirty Ho
My Young Auntie

Friday 25th October 2013
City on Fire
Full Contact

Saturday 26th October 2013
Police Story
Police Story 3: Supercop
Dangerous Encounters – 1st Kind
Long Arm of the Law

Sunday 27th October 2013
Full Alert
Cold War

Friday 1st November 2013
Infernal Affairs
Infernal Affairs 2

Saturday 2nd November 2013
The Prodigal Son
One Nite in Mongkok
Ip Man
Ip Man 2

Sunday 3rd November 2013 (I have a soft spot for ape movies)
King Kong’s Adventures in the Heavenly Palace
Wong Fei-Hung’s Battle with the Gorilla

While 4-6th October was the “power” weekend, I had already seen most of the films on the big screen and there was only one I had not seen. It might have been a bit too much for me to watch that much gun violence and melodrama in the one weekend also, however awesome it would have been. Special note that several of the John Woo movies were 35mm prints from his own personal collection, you are certainly not going to see that again.

25th-27th of October was about half and half with movies I had seen. I already have Police Story 1-3 in a box set and have seen them on the big screen. The same with City on Fire and Full Contact. The other movies did look good though.

1st-3rd November seemed pretty good, but it was Melbourne Cup weekend so I was not sure if I would get flights. I had never heard of King Kong’s Adventures in the Heavenly Palace or Wong Fei-Hung’s Battle with the Gorilla.

18th – 20th October had the most movies I had not seen and also one of my favourite movies Kung Fu Hustle that I had not seen on the big screen since 2005. I enjoy kung fu comedies and had somehow managed to miss the two Jackie Chan films that were on this weekend. Pedicab Driver was a personal recommendation from a friend, it is not available on DVD and rare on VHS. I do have Dirty Ho on DVD.

I may have annoyed some of my acquaintances who also love Hong Kong movies, but did not have the money or resources to make it to the screening by talking about it so much, but it was a culturally significant event and I had not seen that many HK movies concurrently since 2001 when they were the only thing I went to see. These movies are more than likely not going to screen again in Australia in this format and not this many either.

Friday 18th October 2013

I had booked everything before I arrived in Brisbane including airport transfers, I just happened to be the last stop for the bus as we slowly wound our way through most of the inner Brisbane CBD. For some reason I had promised to go over to the Low Road café in Windsor and was running late.

Checked into my room and walked the wrong way down Vulture St away from the shops towards South Bank. I did eventually find the station and only managed to miss one train while trying to buy a ticket. Made it to the café but they were just about closing due to the storm coming, was happy to have a sandwich. Ben Corbett did not recognise me, but that’s probably for the best.

The storm hit just as I boarded the train back to South Bank and dumped a lot of rain. Had to dodge waves walking back towards the shops after walking the wrong way again. I did eventually find the bar Jungle I had been looking for and had a few cocktails.

Not wanting to be running late on the first night I walked down to GoMA in the rain about 4pm and got there while they were setting up the bar. There were even HK themed cocktails and I had a Five Venoms and a Snake in Eagle’s Shadow. I did end up talking to the bar staff quite a bit as I did not want to disturb the box office staff although I did talk to them also. The staff at GoMA were very nice to me all weekend and made me feel welcome. I did tell them that I flew up from Melbourne just to see the movies and did not have to justify it like some people have made me do.

Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow screened first. The only surviving print they could find was dubbed, but a digital version with subtitles in Cantonese was screening five minutes after the movie started in the theatre across the hall if anyone was bothered by dubbing. The print was sourced from a private collection in the USA and took months of negotiation to acquire as there was a condition on it that it was not to go out of the country.

Drunken Master was the second film of the night and I am not sure why I had not seen it. It was a lot different than Drunken Master II, that I have seen many times.

I did not end up having dinner until 11pm, was pretty hungry by then and I had to remember that for the next day when it was going to be a long day.

Saturday 19th October 2013

I had set the alarm for 10am as usual for Saturdays when I go shopping, but ended up getting up earlier. Walked down to the shops and bought an apple and banana for breakfast. My sunglasses fell on the ground and I walked around for half an hour or longer with one lens missing, did not find this out until I was down at the Wheel of Brisbane.

I did go have a look in the museum and the science exhibit with a whole lot of screaming kids running around. Was pretty hungry by then so I just bought a sandwich at the café near the State Library.

Films seen over the course of the day:
Aces Go Places
Pedicab Driver
God of Gamblers
Kung Fu Hustle

I did not drink as much at the bar this time, but I did try the Young and Dangerous cocktail, it was quite nice.

Another late dinner and I decided to try out the place that served the Philly Cheese steaks, only to find they had sold out so I had to settle for a chilli dog and a couple of sides with a Birch Beer soda. Might not have been the most healthy to eat, was still tasting and burping it the next day.

Sunday 20th October 2013

I woke up even earlier and walked down to South Bank to see if one of my relatives was working, I did get to say hello to them this time.

After that I went to the Queensland Art Gallery to have a look through it and then the exhibition about the live music scene in Queensland at the State Library http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/live/live I ended up watching some of the documentaries in the exhibition and enjoyed them.

A quick run through the GoMA collection and I was ready for the last two films.

Films for the day:
Dirty Ho
My Young Auntie

I did get to say goodbye to the box office staff after Dirty Ho and the person checking the tickets after My Young Auntie, she was especially nice and hoped I had a good flight home the next day.

As I had not had lunch I was pretty hungry by then so I ended up going to Chop Chop Chiangs for dinner, a lot more than I would usually pay but it was a celebration for getting through all the movies. I had also tried to go to the restaurant on Friday night, but they were closing when I arrived and I promised I would try and make it back on Sunday as I asked one of the staff where I could get something for dinner that night.

I was going to have a couple of cocktails at Jungle, but only ended up getting the one and giving the bar manager my five free movie pass for the screening program (which I won after I had bought the tickets to the screenings, whoops!)

Back to the hostel and I read my book for a couple of hours and went to bed early. Even though I would have liked to have had someone to talk to about the movies, it was still a great weekend and I recommend people check out the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane as it has some funny and surprising artworks.

Photos from the weekend:

Action, HK Style – Reviews, write up and feature coming

I just got back from Brisbane today after travelling up for the weekend to QAGOMA in Brisbane to see the screenings for Action, HK Style http://www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/cinematheque/current/action_hong_kong_style. This was the best week I could find given all the other things I have on.

I will try to get in touch with one of the curators of the screening program as I would like to ask them some questions and I did not get to on the weekend.

Some reviews of the films I had already seen before I went up

Kung Fu Hustle

Dirty Ho