Wednesday, January 11, 2017


REVIEW #003: 

October 1965 saw the first release of Shaw Brothers’ new genre of movies "wuxia" : TEMPLE OF THE RED LOTUS and in December of the same year a sequel followed: THE TWIN SWORDS. It would not be until the spring of 1966 that Sir Run Run Shaw would produce the next Shaw Brothers’ wuxia movie: COME DRINK WITH ME.

Released on April 7th, 1966, COME DRINK WITH ME is an adaptation of a Beijing Opera called The Drunken Beggar. In fact, the Chinese translation of the actual title of this movie is Da Zui Xia or Big Drunken Hero. It’s director, King Hu Chin-Chuan also co-wrote the screenplay with newcomer Ting Shan-Hsi (who some sources say also co-directed the film). Han Ying-Chieh served as action director and played a small role in the film. This, Shaw Brother’s third wuxia film would become so well known that it is often mistaken as their first. We shall see why the film is a bona fide classic and is so well loved. Let’s get busy!

A highly skilled and well-organized group of bandits have suffered a defeat at the hands of the provincial governor’s troops, who capture the bandit’s leader and sentence him to death. The remaining bandits kidnap the governor’s son with the intent to trade the governor’s son for the return of their leader and write a petition outlining this request along with a deadline of five days. The governor’s military commander, who also happens to be his daughter, intercepts the petition and offers the bandits another option: release her older brother and surrender in exchange for leniency from the governor –or die!

In the midst of this turmoil is a drunken beggar and a Buddhist abbot fighting over the leadership of a clan whose grand master has died. As they each choose opposing sides, this story has just gotten even more interesting, thus a classic is born!  

Yueh Hua as Fan Ta Pei aka Drunken Hero

Yuen Chi-Hing as Abbot Liao Kung
the good: Cheng Pei Pei as Commander Chang aka Golden Swallow. Yueh Hua as Fan Ta Pei aka Drunken Hero (Drunken Cat) 
the bad: Chen Hung-Lieh as Jade-Faced Tiger. Lee Wan-Chung as Smiling Tiger Tsu Kan. Yueng Chi-Hing as Abbot Liao Kung.

 HONORABLE MENTION: Cheng Pei Pei screen presence is absolutely fascinating to behold. A true movie star!

Simon Yuen Siu-Tin
SPOTTED: Simon Yuen Siu-Tin seasoned action director and actor in independent films including Wong Fei Hung films and destined to become best known in the United States as Sam Seed, the Drunken Master.  His career spanned 325 films and 30 years (1949 to 1979) according to Hong Kong Movie Database.

FIGHT TIME: All right, time for my favorite part of the movie review: the fights! Han Ying-Chieh is the fight choreographer for COME DRINK WITH ME (1966) and I counted six (6) major fight scenes pretty much evenly distributed throughout the film. However, they are not all created equal. The first fight scene is the raid on the prisoner’s procession where they kidnap the governor’s son. This fight is brutal, cruel and “economically” shows the viciousness of this group of bandits. 

Golden Swallow's "game face"!
Golden Swallow has three major fight scenes and they are masterpieces of effective double dagger combat against multiple opponents. Drunken Hero Fan Ta Pei has two major fight scenes that work when his martial arts are displayed at the level of master, however when the film tries to depict grand master level skills, the film technology of 1966 just doesn’t do it justice but it is both understandable and forgivable. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Han Ying-Chieh has a small role as a henchman but is the action director of record for COME DRINK WITH ME (1966). However, it seems to me the director King Hu Chin-Chuan gets all the credit for how great the movie is but the fight choreography is always mentioned in the reviews of this undisputed classic. I think it should be a bit more balanced but it is just my opinion. 

RECOMMENDATION: “Mama told me there’d be days like this…” There will be movies such as this that are undisputed classics and as such no recommendations are necessary. Whether you are a collector or casual viewer of films, COME DRINK WITH ME (1966) is a "must see" and "must have". 'Nuff said!

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