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Drunken Monkey

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.

With:
With: Lau Kar-Leung, Chiang Chun-Wa, Jason Wu-Jing, Gordon Liu, Lau Wing-Kin, Chi Kuan-Chun, Shannon Yao, Li Hai-To, Zhang Zhen-Huan.

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.

Drunken Monkey

Hong Kong

Production: A Super Film Prods. (Hong Kong) production, with the Shaw Brothers. (International sales: Celestial Pictures, Hong Kong.) Produced by Mona Fong Yat-wa. Directed by Lau Kar-Leung. Screenplay, Pak Ling Li.

Crew: Camera (color), Wong Po-Man; music, Tommy Wau; art director, Angelo Castibio. Reviewed on videocassette at Hawaii Film Festival (Heroic Grace), Nov. 9, 2003. Cantonese dialogue. Running time: 97 MIN.

With: With: Lau Kar-Leung, Chiang Chun-Wa, Jason Wu-Jing, Gordon Liu, Lau Wing-Kin, Chi Kuan-Chun, Shannon Yao, Li Hai-To, Zhang Zhen-Huan.

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