Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 10th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: Hong Kong, 1985
Director: Chao Chung-Hsing
Cast: Phillip Ko, Chiang Sheng, Sun Kuo-Ming, Land Chia-Jen
DVD released: August 22nd, 2006
Approximate running time: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 & 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 & mono
DVD Release: BCI Eclipse/Rarescope
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.98
There is a magical vest known as “Seven Star Armour” which makes the person who wears it invincible. Master Doom (Phillip Ko) with his two henchmen will stop at nothing including murder to obtain this magical vest. The “Seven Star Armour” always seems to be one step ahead of Master Doom who only obstacle left in his way is an inept Kung Fu novice named Doggy (Sun Kuo-Ming). After the death of his Grandmotehr at the hands of Master Doom Doggy is hell bent on mastering the Martial Arts and avenging his beloved grandmother.
Drunken Dragon has many wild action set pieces and the fighting in general is exceptional. The opening scene where Master Doom and his two sidekicks try to retrieve the “Seven Star Armour” totally sets the stage for the action sequences that follow. The training sequences leading up to the final showdown are some of the most unique and down right bizarre techniques ever displayed in any martial arts film.
The plot is made up of three separate stories Master Doom’s quest for the “Seven Star Armour”, Doggy and the arrival of his bride and Doggy’s revenge for his dead grandmother. The film also has its fare share of comedy and most of it is derived from the relationship between Doggy and his soon to be bride. His bride is a childhood sweetheart who has grown into a very large woman who likes push him around and if anyone gets in her way she will throw her weight around. The actress who plays Doggy’s fiancé is one hell of a marital artist considering her size.
Overall Drunken Dragon despite treading familiar territory is a lot of fun and most of this is due the comedy injected into the plot.
Drunken Dragon is presented in an Letterboxed widescreen. The opening credits are in the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio they switch to about a 1.85:1 aspect ratio for the rest of the film. Even though the box art says the transfer is anamorphic widescreen it is not. Many martial arts films and films made in Hong Kong in general have not been well preserved through the years with many films being lost forever. The box art for this release states that this film had been though lost for many years until a film print was recently discovered and used as the source for this releases transfer. Colors look faithfully reproduced with a few instances where the quality fluctuates. Details look sharp in the foreground while they lack the same clarity in the background. There is noticeable print damage through out, still it is minimal and never becomes distracting.
This release comes with two audio options the films original Cantonese language track and an English dubbed language track. The Cantonese language track is presented in a new Dolby Digital 5.1 remix. Outside of some minor hiss it this audio mix is more then adequate as the dialog is easy to follow. This audio track comes with removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow. The English dubbed language track is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. The dialog is crisp as it sounds evenly balanced with the rest of the mix. There is noticeable hiss that pops up form time to time and a few instances where the quality of the audio fluctuates.
Extras for this release include a brief three minute interview with Phillip Ko who discusses Bruce Lee, Shaw Brothers and working in the Taiwan film industry. Other extras include a two minute clip in which William Yen demonstrates his acrobatic skills. Rounding out the extras is a six minute promo reel that shows the various Rarescope titles currently available and some that are slated for future release.
Drunken Dragon is another solid release from Rarescope who continue to release for ultra rare Kung Fu films at budget line prices.