Return to old-school chopsocky from genre pioneers the Shaw Brothers offers nothing special to the initiated and more cheesiness than latecomers might tolerate. But some of the fighting -- aided by wires but no CGI -- is so breathtaking many viewers won't care about shortcomings. "Drunken Monkey" could do some high kicking as a midnight pic.
Return to old-school chopsocky from genre pioneers the Shaw Brothers offers nothing special to the initiated and more cheesiness than latecomers might tolerate. But some of the fighting — aided by wires but no CGI — is so breathtaking many viewers won’t care about shortcomings. Colorfully shot “Drunken Monkey” is already in the DVD market, but could still do some high kicking on midnight-movie circuit.
Pic, which references the “Drunken Master” and “Mad Monkey” series — as well as a hundred other kung fu pics in which a single nifty move is enough to hang a plot on — stars veteran action helmer Lau Kar-Leung as Man Bill, who runs a Pony Express-type delivery service in 1930s China. His seemingly devoted younger bro (Chiang Chun-Wa) is actually running opium for a mobster who wants the master bumped off. Bill proves a tough Man to kill and, with the aid of a lovely young protege (Shannon Yao), her clowny suitors (Jason Wu Jing, Lau Wing-Kin), a government agent (Gordon Liu) and copious amounts of rice wine (“for strength”), the baddies are vanquished.