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I actually came to Drunken Master quite late on, preferring Jackie Chan's 80s output (Wheels on Meals, Armour of God, Police Story, etc) over his more traditional Kung Fu movies, but when I finally got round to Drunken Master, I was an instant fan of it's comedic style and phenomenal fight choreography. Since then, I've owned it in many formats from video, to the Hong Kong legends and Mei Ah DVD releases, but they've all suffered problems in their own ways. The film has been incorrectly cropped, suffered bad picture quality, an incomplete Cantonese soundtrack (reverting to English in spots) and notorious "dubtitles" for the original language track (meaning you're basically getting the English dub to screen, rather than an actual translation of the original language, which I find infuriating). So until now, it's always the best of a bad bunch for Drunken Master, but I'm glad to say that Eureka have made this a thing of the past.
Presented in it's original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1 and having undergone a 4k restoration, Eureka's release looks phenomenal. The detail, clarity, and faithful colour presentation make it hard to believe you're watching a 39 year old film. And it's about as authentic as it gets, no recourse to horrible DNR or any other of those more illusory mastering techniques. The quality of the restoration alone would be enough to make this worth every penny, but what you also have here for the first time ever is not only the FULL Cantonese soundtrack in lossless LPCM mono, but also both lossless English and Mandarin dubs. The Mandarin dub is the same as the Mei Ah release (with a few missing sections reverting to English) but is a really nice inclusion. The full Cantonese soundtrack is brilliantly clear, and authentic, and packs a surprisingly big punch despite the simplicity of its design. And in a truly fantastic attention to detail, Eureka have even provided proper subtitled translations of both the Cantonese and Mandarin versions, with subtitles for the hard of hearing too.
To top all that off, there's a whole host of extras, including an absolutely brilliant and insightful audio commentary by film experts and authors Ric Myers and Jeff Yang (co-author of "I am Jackie Chan - My life in action") as well as deleted scenes, an appreciation by Gareth Evans (The Raid), interviews, and a whole load more including a really nice specially commission booklet essay.
Also, for any American and Canadian fans, I can confirm that I was able to play this on my region modded Blu-ray player when switched to "Region A" so this would appear to be region A and B compatible.
So in short, this not only the greatest version of Drunken Master I've seen, it's also the finest release of any Jackie Chan film I've seen too. Whilst I appreciate Drunken Master is arguably one of the most important films in Chinese cinema history, and well deserving of it's "Masters of Cinema" tag, I secretly hope that Eureka are able to bring us more Jackie Chan in the future. If they are to this standard, then that's a very exciting prospect indeed.
If you are looking for the version you most likely would have seen on video tape many years ago, then this is that version. It has the original English dubbing from the VHS version, where the baddy is called "Thunderfoot".
Some reviews here are talking about other versions, so if you are after the version with original dubbing, go for the one that is in my pic.
Quality-wise, it isn't great, bearing in mind it is just a straight conversion from VHS to DVD and there are no extras.
If you are not bothered about this specific version with this dubbing, then there are many other better quality versions of Drunken Master (with better dubbing) out there which you can buy.
Only get this version if you are after this specific dubbing of the film.
For this particular version, I gave it 4 stars as I have finally found the version I was looking for and it met my expectations.
This release is listed as having English, Cantonese and Mandarin audio. The english dub is expectedly terrible, as with all movies of that era, but that's OK. I don't speak Cantonese, but my Mandarin is quite good. In other words, I bought this release to watch it in Mandarin. Imagine my surprise when the setup menu informed me that "the Mandarin soundtrack was originally created for a shorter version of the film. Additional footage is presented in english". OK, so I told myself, some chunk of the movie will be in english, it'll hopefully still be ok for the most part. Then watching it, I found this to be a terrible mess where in tons of scenes throughout the movie the audio will switch to the terrible english dubbing for a minute, or maybe even for one sentence, then go back to mandarin. A complete mess, totally takes you out of the viewing experience every few minutes.
This is not mentioned in the product description here with even a single word, and trat already angered me quite a bit. But the worst of it all is that I do possess an old "Mei Ah" DVD release of the same movie. And while that DVD release is a shorter cut than this "Masters of Cinema" edition, it does contain scenes that switch to the english dub on the new blu-ray, only that these scenes _do_ have an original Mandarin dubbing on the old DVD. The opening scene for example, which is completely in english in the new release, exists fully intact and in Mandarin on the "Mei Ah" DVD.
So in short, a better job could have been done to make this a "definitive" release, and its shortcomings should at least be made aware to the customers willing to pay for it.
With the Corona Virus lock down in full effect, I found myself with the desire to watch some old school Jackie Chan films. I was on the lookout for the classics Police Story, Project A and Wheels On Meals. I noticed that Eureka have cleaned up and released a lot of these films. Unfortunately for my bank account, I picked up a large amount of movies in one swoop. This included Drunken Master, a film I have always been curious about but for whatever reason, a film that I had never really went out my way to see.
Drunken Master is a fairly simple story and one that no doubt has been told many times. Jackie Chan plays (presumably the legendary) Wong Fei-Hung. He's an overly cocky but talented individual. His over the top attitude lands him in trouble and as a punishment, his father sends him off to learn under the dreaded Beggar So. The plot is fairly bare bones and is nothing particularly ground breaking. It's all held together by the great charisma from the actors on screen. They all do their parts with great conviction.
In typical Jackie Chan fashion, the film is quite tongue in cheek and has a lot of high speed action. The use of slapstick humour etc is generally well done. I got a good number of laughs out of the film and I think they did a great job scattering the jokes around without making it overly silly. This of course is all balanced out with the action sequences, which there are no lack of. Some scenes are very fast and hard hitting, whilst others come across as very well choreographed routines. These routines I quite enjoyed. You could see the actors were clearly keeping a specific rhythm and was very different (to my eyes at least).
The print presented by Eureka looks very nice. It has lots of colour and plenty of crisp detail. I have seen clips of this film over the years and not a single one came remotely close to looking this good. For a film that is over forty years old now, it has aged beautifully and that is not just from the beautiful cinematography etc but the effort to preserve the quality of the film.
I almost feel embarrassed that it took me this long to see this film but I am glad I finally did. It's a great up beat movie with lots of laughs. It's a very easy watch with plenty of extras to keep any fan going. If martial arts movies is your thing, do yourself a favour and pick this one up.
The large stack of extras includes a Jackie Chan interview, which seems to be taken from some Japanese convention he was attending for the restored screenings of SITES and DM. While he doesn't have anything specific to say about this film, there are some nice stories about his fame and career. I got quickly bored with the Gareth Evans appreciation piece.There's a decent lengthy Tony Rayns appreciation and producer interview. The booklet has a nice contextual essay by Michael Brooke, and stills of original poster art.
Seriously tho, you have to watch this movie - Incredible choreography, even by today's standards, but without the special effects which makes it even better.
If you get a chance to watch the UK Dub of this movie then go for it (not released on DVD). This US Dub is the only one you can buy these days.
La qualité de l'image est vraiment pas mal pour un film qui à 30 ans .
Contient le DVD et le Blu-ray mais aussi un fascicule