Legend of Drunken Master, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2

Jackie Chan brings his unique blend of unbelievable martial arts stunts and humor to the screen in this American release of a 1994 Hong Kong produced film. Although it features some of the traditional voice dubbing faults, they are quickly forgotten in the wake of fast footwork and amazing action scenes. Jackie plays real-life Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-hong, a master of "drunken boxing." The clownish poses, weaving and staggering associated with intoxication are imitated in this kung fu style, allowing the user to surprise opponents with unusual moves. But it works even better when partially drunk. According to Fei-hong's father, a doctor and kung fu teacher, a little alcohol loosens the muscles and raises the threshhold of pain. But too much alcohol makes the fighter just another drunk. And Fei-hong will need all his faculties to stop the smuggling ring stealing historical Chinese treasures. A combination of Buster Keaton comedy and HIGH NOON showdown, Chan fans won't be disappointed.

Typical of martial arts films, the fight scenes are almost non-stop. While a few scenes are exhibition-type displays, most involve severe injury and dangerous weapons. In one scene, one man fights with an axe stuck in his back. Other scenes involve severe beatings and fights with heated metal rods. Fei-hong's father is sometimes severe, but usually fair. Unfortunately, his mother sets a bad example by gambling with girlfriends, encourages Fei-hong to disobey his father, and helps Fei-hong cover-up mistakes. But the biggest disappointment, although somewhat key to the story, is the endorsement of alcohol abuse. Some scenes show rapid drinking of strong alcohol providing increased ability, like spinach does for Popeye. True drunkenness is also swown to be detrimental, but the combination of humor and alcohol use gives a potentially fatal message to waeker viewers.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Miramax (Dimension Films), 375 Greenwich, New York, NY, 10013

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several times - Mild 5, moderate 4

Obscene Language: Several times - S-word 3

Profanity: Few times - Exclamatory 5(OG 2, OMG 2, MG); Regular 2 (GD, G knows)

Violence: Almost constant - Moderate and severe (frequent martial arts fights, bloody beatings, shooting, hatchet in back, clothes on fire, severe burns)

Sex: None

Nudity: None; Near nudity - Once (man hangs from pole naked but obscured waist down by banner)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (servant tells man seen naked all girls want to marry him now, man tells woman she needs husband, woman tells husband they should have another child)

Drugs: Many times - alcohol drinking, drunken behavior

Other: Women gamble on poker-like Mah-jong, British ambassador stealing Chinese artifacts, woman prays to ancestors, wife frequently lies to/ contradicts husband, fahter beats/ disowns son but later takes back when son apologizes

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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