Drunken Master (1978)
Director - Yuen Wo Ping
DVD Released by : Hong Kong Legends
Player reviewed with : Malata DVD-N996
Receiver reviewed with : Sony 925
16:9 Anamorphic version

Dual Language Presentation

Jackie Chan Biography and Filmography
Theatrical Trailer
UK Music Promo
Rare Deleted Scene
Interview with legendary producer Ng See Yuen
Yuen Wo Ping Biography
Hwang Jang Lee Biography and Kicking Showcase
Running Time : 106 mins
Region 2 / PAL

DRUNKEN MASTER is one of Jackie Chan's many classic films. Jackie is the mischievous Wong Fei Hung who messes up one too many times and is sent by his father to be trained by Beggar Su. The training is harsh and gradually leads to him learning Drunken Boxing. When his father is threatened, Jackie must use his newly learned skill to defeat his attacker.

Jackie Chan definitely shines in DRUNKEN MASTER. The movie is funny and has a lot of action. After seeing this movie only on very cheaply made VHS tapes, the HKL DVD is amazing. This is not to say it's perfect, but considering the age of the film and the materials HKL had to deal with, this is a great DVD.

The picture quality is the best I have seen for this movie. The colors are good and vibrant. The black levels are also well done. The print has been restored but there are still some forgivable imperfections. One very important thing to note is that this movie is cropped to 1.78:1 from its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. There are some scenes where this is more noticeable than others. If have a player that lets you "zoom out" you can lessen the effect a little.

The audio selection is either Mandarin mono or English mono. I watched the movie with the Mandarin selection all the way through and parts with the English soundtrack. Considering the age of the source materials, the Mandarin soundtrack is acceptable. It isn't perfect but it it does the job. The English dub is functional. The names have been westernized which sounds odd. Absent is the original Cantonese soundtrack. Due to the badly damaged source materials, HKL decided it was better to restore the also damaged but not as bad Mandarin track. This is another compromise with this DVD but it is understandable considering the situation.

The subtitles are easily read and are spelled correctly. My only minor complaint is that the names of the characters are westernized a bit . The subtitles are very similar if not an exact duplicate of the English dub. This detracted from the movie a bit.

The extras are pretty good. The interview with producer Ng See Yuen is interesting. The deleted scene is OK. It's something that's nice to see as an extra. My favorite is the biography for Hwang Jang Lee.

Even with it's shortcomings, this is still a good DVD. The movie itself is great. The fight sequences are never boring and there is always some comedy in them. If you are worried about the cropping and missing Cantonese track, just consider that at this time, this is the best this film has ever looked. Now interestingly enough, I came across this over at Bullets 'n Babes. It appears that there may be a re-release in the future. You may want to hold off a little while before buying this one. It may just get even better.