With a perfect set of actors, some of the most memorable fights in all martial art film history and the sophisticated choreography Jackie Chan is world famous for Drunken Master II is perhaps the greatest martial art movie of all time. 16 years after his success in the first Drunken Master, he refines his inventive and artistic fighting, as well as his superb comedy, and even surpasses it.
Wong Fei Hung is living a rather calm life, and though he is a master of drunken boxing he mostly keeps away from fighting, due to his father’s request. But certain things occur that force him to use his skills, and encouraged by his stepmother (played by the brilliant Anita Mui) show off his powerful drunken boxing.
Fei Hung falls out with his father and eventually finds himself in a situation where he has been humiliated and degraded to the extent that he decides never to drink again. But despite his honest decision he can’t run away from his fate. And once again confronted with the bad guys (and they are certainly bad as hell!) he has no other option than to become the drunken master once again.
Drunken Master II is truly one of Jackie’s most stunning movies, and perhaps the best martial art film ever made. What makes it so great is not only the fight scenes and stunts, however superb they are, but the perfect mix of Jackie’s comedic genious combined with his more solemn side. Whereas the younger Fei Hung from the 1978 movie never really loses his cocky attitude (except for a brief moment after being defeated and humiliated by Jang Lee Hwang), Fei Hung in the 1994 sequel is a much more complex person. He still has the same tendency to stretch everything a bit too far – but his regret is real and you can feel it.
The fight scenes are excellent, some of them among the best ones ever made. In this movie Jackie has taken all his experience from films like Drunken Master and The Young Master and brought them together and he takes you on an imcomparable journey of relentless but also super fun entertainment. And let’s face it – Jackie’s drunken boxing is nothing less than magic…
The final fight takes place in a steel factory – and I guarantee it will take your breath away. In fact, this may very well be one of the best fight scenes ever filmed – if not the best. No one can take a beating like Jackie Chan – and no one can step up as coureageous in the end. And this fight has it all. Although badly beaten and even thrown onto a bed of red hot coal (and make no mistake – this is real pain Jackie style – no fake) he just never gives in.
He ends up drinking industrial strength alcohol and literally explodes in a total rage. Wow… It’s fast, furious and totally insane and it gets me every time. Jackie knows so well that this is the way his audience love to see him; as the underdog who gets bashed around, is almost defeated but who rises in the end, completely merciless. And he’s always prepared to to give it to us no matter the cost.
So, what more can I say? Not much. Except of course that the music score is among the best ones you could imagine. Not since Sergio Leone’s early years cooperating with Ennio Morricone a music score has been so perfectly set to the plot. Too bad the American release had a completely different soundtrack – the original one is superb!
Drunken Master II is the ultimate martial art movie, and it shows Jackie at his very best. He is a true artist, and it’s a genuine pleasure to watch him in action. To me this is much more than a movie. It’s a classic event, filled with that superb Jackie Chan artistry no one else truly masters. And if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s about time you did.