Saturday, March 27, 2010

Drunken Master II


Jui Kuen II; action, Hong Kong / China, 1994; D: Lau Kar-leung, S: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Ti Lung, Felix Wong, Lau Kar-leung

China, 19th Century. Wong doesn't want to pay the tax before entering a train, so he hides the ginseng root in the bag of an English diplomat, despite the objection of his father. In the train, Wong accidentally mistakes a box with a valuable Chinese antique with his box of ginseng, which causes troubles: some mobsters intended to sell the antique to English tycoons. Wong wants to stop them and has his old method: every time he gets drunk, he becomes an unstoppable fighter. But his father argues with him due to objections of becoming drunk. In a steel factory, Wong stops the antique from being sold and beats up the bad guy.

This sequel to one of Jackie Chan's most popular films from '78, "Drunken Master 2" is an unusually gloomy achievement: in the finale, the mafia even throws the hero on burning coal whereas even family arguments show up, which is pretentiously dramatic. Luckily, however, that the story still contains enough humor: four women hide gambling chips by leaning to the table pretending to be sick and an occasional funny dialog livens things up ("This province is so poor that the whole family has only one pants!" - "And who wears them?" - "The one who goes out to work"). Chan is fun when he acts the clever premise of the plot that his character becomes a perfect fighter after getting drunk, subsequently even making some hilarious 'drunk kung fu' moves, yet it's a pity he enters that state only twice in the whole movie. The action stunts are very well choreographed but in deprivation of charm, whereas some scenes are a curiosity, like when the strong boss jumps in the middle of the steel factory and starts beating up workers who are on strike (!), which also puts the logic into colloid state, though the movie is good as a whole.

Grade:++

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