Monday, May 31, 2021

Jackie Chan's Drunken Master II AKA The Legend of Drunken Master (1994) Warner Archive Blu Ray Review

Drunken Master II (1994) Warner Archive 5/18/2021

Directed By: Chia-Liang Liu, Jackie Chan (uncredited)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Ho-Sung Pak, Anita Mui, Chia-Liang Liu 

    Disclaimer: Warner Archive has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 

  Its worth noting that unlike the US re-titled re-release from Dimension the Warner Archive is fully uncut and has both the dubbed edition and original language versions (More on in in the Sound section). 

   Long before he starred in films in Hollywood like the Rush Hour series Jackie Chan had been making films and doing fantastic stunts in his native country. Jackie Chan had his first big solo hit with 1978's Drunken Master. Later he would find a huge audience with Police Story (1985) an excellent action film. Hoping to ride the wave of hits it was decided to do a pseudo-reboot/sequel entitled Drunken Master II (1994) also re-titled Legend of the Drunken Master (for a 2000 re-release)  tells the story a meek son of a doctor named Wong Fei-hung (Jackie Chan) who must use a form of marital arts called drunken-boxing which is forbidden by his father. Things go from bad to worse when Wong swaps luggage with an English diplomat to avoid paying taxes on his fathers ginseng.  He finds himself embroiled in a international plot in this action-comedy. 

    Like probably many Americans I first discovered Chan and his amazing stunts through his Hollywood films and after this sought out movies he made in his native country. Also, if you only know him from his latter-US movie I implore you to go out and seek out his other films. I digress. Drunken Master II is basically everything you would want and would expect from a films of its ilk. The movie has a interesting set-up and once things start to get its nearly non-stop in the action department. Chan is of course legendary for doing his own stunts and you cannot help but be left in a state of utter-awe at the feats he displays. Mix this with his infectious charm and natural ability at comedy which certainly lends itself to getting shit-faced and fighting and you have a winning cocktail. 

    I will be honest and say while I adore this movie the plot takes a little longer to get going than it really should. I think that trimming a few scenes and streamlining things might have helped the pace. Still, the movie is fun, full of awesome action and of course Chan oozes charm and charisma and its no wonder he went onto bigger films. Drunken Master II may not be a classic like Police Story but its still hell of a good time when you pop that disc in! 

Picture: Fans will be happy to hear that the Warner A print is an improvement from the 2009 US re-release. The film which is sourced from a brand-new 4k scan looks overall really nice with warm color tones and a sharp definition. The film retains a lot of nice detail and clarity in locales, costumes and sets. The film tends to be a little overly grainy in a few scenes but this is really a minor compliant. The film also isn't maybe as sharp as other 4k scans but I found the overall film to be good looking and certainly the best its ever looked on home video to date.  

Sound: Drunken Master II an English dub DTS 2.0, the original Cantonese available for the first time in region A/1 and, a dubbed English version. Dialogue comes through nicely and the action provided by sound design has a complex full sound in my opinion. 

Extras: Trailer 

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