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Case Number 10153

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Drunken Dragon

BCI Eclipse // 1981 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 12th, 2006

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All Rise...

A battle-monk in a rowboat on wheels fighting a villain with candle on his head? Judge David Johnson likes!

The Charge

"Evil rises from the heart, courage from the spleen."

Opening Statement

What you get when PCP and Lo Mein noodles mix.

Facts of the Case

I'll give you fair warning: this isn't going to make any sense. Young kung fu fan, Doggy (Sun Kuo-Ming), is excited to meet his new bride, coming in with the next shipment of maidens. He's to marry Ms. Tiger, a friend from his youth. Unfortunately, Ms. Tiger falls short in the looks category, much to Doggy's dismay. She's slightly butch and overweight, an observation Doggy makes repeatedly through the film.

Good husband that he is, he brings his wife back home, where he lives with his Granny, an ass-kicking senior citizen—with a secret. That secret? She knows the location of the mythical Seven Star Armor, a powerful weapon that allows its owner unfathomable power. The evil Doom and minions have been on the trail of the armor, having slapped around a monk in a rowboat to learn its whereabouts.

Doggy will find himself defending the armor from Doom's assault, with the help of his uncle, who will take time out of his busy schedule of pining after a picture of his senior classmate to train Doggy in the secret "Exciting Dragon" technique, which is comprised of hitting Doggy on the elbow with a mallet.

The Evidence

For fans of insane kung fu theater, Drunken Dragon is not to be missed. I've seen some crazy crap, but this movie ranks high on the list of brain-gouging martial artistry. Seriously, if you're into stuff like Crippled Mastersor Fantasy Mission Force, track down this film and enjoy it.

So much to enjoy! I think it's time for a list!


• 5. Doggy. Forget that "Doggy" is probably the greatest name for a kung fu superhero ever devised. Kuo-Ming is a skilled martial artist, but also packs some comedic chops. But the really joy comes from his dialogue. Whether it's a product of the translators' addiction to aerosol huffing or not, Doggy's lines are ridiculous. For example, when faced with a battle against Big Brother, the candle-headed goon (more on him later), Doggy beseeches the help of what appears to be a lawn ornament. As a bonus, the guy is not afraid to be emasculated on screen.

• 4. Fat people are funny. Okay, we get it, Doggy's wife is fat and that makes her hilarious. But director Chao Chung-Hsing rubs it in. One scene has Ms. Tiger running to embrace Doggy, then there's quick shot of a giant pig galloping towards the camera. Subtle.

• 3. "Exciting Dragon". Training montages and super-terrific special moves are trademarks of the kung fu genre, but I haven't seen anything like the "Exciting Dragon." The premise: by smacking elbows and knees with a big-ass hammer, the reflex movement can be turned into vicious attacks. Yeah, it comes into play at the very end, but one guy pounding away at another guy's elbows for several minutes, set to music, is disorienting.

• 2. Candle-Head man. He's Doom's go-to villain and for good reason. He has a frickin' candle on his head.

• 1. The rowboat fight. This sequence, which occurs early in the film, is close to nightmarish in its lunacy. Doom and his pals infiltrate a secret temple to steal the Seven Star Armor and are met by the temple's protector, a monk in a rowboat. It's a land-rowboat that the dude paddles around, and fights off attackers with his oars. It even shoots Yin-Yang balls out of the front. Must be seen.

There's a lot more, and the crazy action is supplemented perfectly by the even crazier dialogue. Just know not to try and make sense out of any of it. It will likely cause a complete shutdown of your left hemisphere.

Rarescope did their best with the material they had, so no hard feelings. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is choppy and scratchy, but there was only one print they had to work with. Cantonese with English subtitles and English dubbing are your language choices; I'd go with the cheesetastic dubbing in this case, which just sweetens the experience. A few extras include a William Yen demo (half of which is taken up with his makeup application), an interview with Philip Ko and trailers.

Closing Statement

There should be a Surgeon General's warning on this DVD case about how prolonged exposure could lead to massive brain damage. Beyond insane, but in every way fans of nutty kung fu cinema love.

The Verdict

Go, Doggy, you're free!!!

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Scales of Justice

Video: 80
Audio: 80
Extras: 70
Acting: 85
Story: 95
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: BCI Eclipse
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Cantonese)
• English
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 1981
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Action
• Comedy
• Martial Arts

Distinguishing Marks

• William Yen Demo
• Philip Ko Interview
• Trailers


• IMDb

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