's fourth starring role, and the one that put him on the map.Wong Fei-hung
is a young, irresponsible martial arts student
who, in the space of one day, manages to anger his kung fu instructor by demonstrating that the instructor was an incompetent in front of the entire class, antagonize his aunt by making advances towards her daughter
, and a local nobleman for beating the crap out of his (very snooty
) son. As punishment, his father sends him to train under Beggar So, who has a reputation for crippling his students. Naturally, Fei-Hung doesn't like this idea, and so he escapes, only to run into Beggar So, who gives him brutally rigorous training. At first, Fei-Hung hates his mentor, but he comes to respect him and becomes a much more proficient martial artist. At the end, Fei-Hung uses his new knowledge to defeat an assassin after his father.
Later, there was a sequel of sorts in the form of Drunken Master II
, released in North America as Legend of Drunken Master
. Wong Fei-Hung accidentally comes into possession of several valuable Chinese artifacts, which smugglers are trying to sell to Evil Brits
. In 2005, Time Magazine declared this movie one of the 100 best movies of all time, and Roger Ebert
rates the climactic foundry fight as one of the best fight scenes ever committed to film.
This movie provides examples of:
- Addiction Powered: Of course, seeing how his mastery is drunken. The negative consequences of this are explored in the second movie.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Fei-Hung, before some Character Development.
- Badass: Fei-Hung (After mastering drunken boxing), Beggar So, and Yan Ti San.
- Booze-Based Buff: The trick to Drunken Boxing is that you actually have to be drunk for it to work effectively. See Worf Had the Flu below for more.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Fei-Hung is an expert fighter, no doubt about it. He's probably be an even better one if he spent as much time training as he did trying to get out of training.
- Combat Hand Fan: In the second movie, Fei-Hung uses one to great effect against a giant mook. The saying written on it also inspired him to use a Booze-Based Buff to defeat the Big Bad and The Dragon.
- Combat Pragmatist: Beggar So. His first appearance has him throw a metal kettle of boiling water at the Dumb Muscle who was vain enough to fight bare chested, and he keeps going from there. Of course, he's a vagrant as well as a martial arts master, his lifestyle has no need of "fair play".
- Dueling Dubs: The first one (circa 1979) called Fei-Hung Freddie Wong, Beggar So was called Sam Seed, and Yan Ti San was called Thunderfoot. The original dub could be seen on older bootleg VHS tapes. In the 2005s remasterd DVD dub, Fei Hung and his father are still Freddie and Robert Wong. Beggar So is now called So Hei. Yan is called Thunderlegs. The original dub was a product of its time with usual cartoony voice acting, awkward dialogue, and inflections, much like all the Kung Fu dubs of the time with the unintentional hilarity. The DVD dub had both voice acting and dialogue which tended to be stilted or subdued at times in order to avoid the signature quirks of older kung fu movie dubs. Most of the humor remains in what is being said as opposed to how funny it sounds to the ear. Also, much of the translation in the DVD relsease is more literal. So-Hei has a voice that is curiously similar to Sam Seed's. Interestingly enough, Yan's original English dub sported an accent reminiscent of characters in Spaghetti Westerns. His voice in the later dub gave him a lower, more subdued, deadly sounding voice. Mr. Lee and Gorilla both had cartoony voices (similar to Piglet from Winnie the Pooh) in the original dub but were given more appropriately deeper voices in the DVD dub. However, Freddie's voice actor was definitely hamming it up in the new dub.
- Drunken Boxing: If it wasn't obvious.
- Drunken Masters: The Trope Namer, of course.
- Evil Brit: The villains of the sequel, who steal Chinese artifacts to the British Museum of Art. Interestingly, the English dub uses American voice actors for good Chinese characters (save Jackie Chan himself) while using a British voice actors for a villainous Chinese character.
- Evil Virtues: Yan Ti San/Thunderleg is a killer for hire. Off the clock he is an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy par excellence, but once he is hired, he is a Consummate Professional; he cannot be bribed or rehired by the current target to kill his current client, and he will not relent until his target is dead.
- My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: One reason Fei-Hung returns to Beggar-So and takes his training more seriously is his defeat at the hands of another martial artist, Yan Ti San. (Thunderleg, in the English dub)
- Old Master: Beggar-So is exactly the kind of wandering master one wouldn't expect to be a master. He's also usually drunk.
- Out-Gambitted: When Fei-Hung tried to walk out of the restaurant without paying, he attempted the old "that old guy over there's paying" trick. "That old guy over there" just happened to be the owner of the restaurant. Worse, Fei-hung claimed the guy was his father. Which prompted the head waiter to ask "You have more than one father?". The head waiter just happened to be the son of the owner and added "You must be a bastard, then". Obviously, the owner and his family had seen this trick before and don't mind giving so much food away for free if it means they get to teach the perpetrator a lesson.
- Fei-Hung's luck at gambits extends to his tutelage under Beggar So; See below.
- Pec Flex: The restaurant bouncer, Iron Gorilla, enjoys using this technique.
- Production Posse: Ken Lo, the man who kicks the crap out of him for about a third of every Jackie Chan movie, usually toward the end.
- Shell Game: Beggar So stops to gamble against Rat the Iron Headed Bullet. Rat tries to run a rigged shell game, and is easily caught.
- Training from Hell: The usual methods apply here, like scooping water from a bucket with teacups only to fill another bucket while upside down.
- It's worth noting that the training wouldn't be so hellish if Fei-Hung wasn't trying to weasel his way out of it. In the teacups instance, he makes to fill the bucket directly with the other while Beggar So is taking a nap. However, So is one step ahead of him and when an obviously winded Fei-Hung announces he's completed his task, So tells him to now empty that bucket out with teacups roughly the size of shot glasses.
- Trash Talk: Yan Ti San is a master of this.
- The Trickster: Fei-Hung is very sneaky, one reason why he's so in enough trouble to be sent for special training.
- Trickster Mentor: Beggar-So is equally sneaky, finding interesting ways to keep Fei-Hung from running away from his (often) brutal training.
- Worf Had the Flu: As stated above, Drunken Boxing requires one to be legitimately intoxicated. The one time in the film Beggar So is forced to fight sober (because Fei-Hung was too lazy to complete a booze run and filled So's flask with water instead,) he is rapidly outclassed.