The Legend of Drunken Master (Jui Kuen II) (1994)
|Category||Action||Featurette-Behind The Master-An Interview with Jackie Chan|
|Year Of Production||1994|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Lau Ka Leung|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Lau Ka Leung
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The first Drunken Master film was a Hong Kong film, made in 1978, starring Jackie Chan as Wong Fei-Hong — it was a comedy with some very entertaining martial arts. It was rather successful, and spawned a series of sequels and copies. I thought this was the original film (and I was really looking forward to it), but it isn't. This is a sequel, with the full title of Legend of Drunken Master on this disc (although it has several other titles, including Drunken Fist II, which is a literal translation of one of the Chinese titles).
Although this film was made in 1994, the copyright in the print is 2000. That's because a fresh English dub was prepared in 2000 (reportedly, there's only one significant change, removing a final sick joke). The music was replaced at the same time.
This film is fairly entertaining, especially if you are familiar with (and like) Jackie Chan martial arts comedies. The dubbing is atrocious, but I suspect that some of that is actually deliberate, a contrived attempt to replicate the appalling lack of audio sync seen in some Hong Kong martial arts films. Another bad point is the casting of an actor (Ti Lung) who looks the same age as Jackie Chan as his father.
The central character in this film is Wong Fei-Hung (played by Jackie Chan again). Fei-Hung is a typical Jackie Chan character: optimistic, not overly bright, cheerful and impetuous. He is a master of drunken boxing, a style of combat in which the fighter may simulate drunkenness, weaving and bobbing like a drunk man to great effect; however, sometimes the drunkenness is real, because alcohol in the system renders the fighter more resistant to blows, and releases inhibitions so the fighter may strike harder. (There's a big risk of alcoholism, though.) If you have seen other Jackie Chan movies, you can imagine how this style really suits him.
The plot, as such, is a fairly simple one, involves a classic farce of two parcels done up in yellow cloth getting accidentally exchanged, and all the cover-ups and confrontations involved in reversing the exchange. The other main elements are a corrupt British ambassador who is overworking Chinese workers and stealing valuable Chinese antiquities, and the Chinese gangsters working for him. (One suspects that this plot was written for the enjoyment of the residents of Hong Kong). It's a little stretched, but we all know that the plot is really just a mechanism for moving Jackie Chan from one fight to another, and it does that job quite reasonably.
There are some wonderful fights, displaying high levels of skill, and some excellent comic moments. That's exactly what I'm looking for from this film.
This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced. That's the original theatrical aspect ratio, which is good. There has been at least one release in another region that was not in the correct aspect ratio, so it is particularly satisfying that ours is correct.
The picture is just a little bit soft, but clear enough. Shadow detail is limited, with darker colours dropping off into black too quickly. Film grain is no problem, and neither is low-level noise.
Colour is quite well-rendered, even to the extent of showing the red highlights in Jackie Chan's hair. There are no colour-related artefacts.
There are plenty of small film artefacts, and quite a few medium size ones. The only really annoying film artefact is the large white piece of fluff at 15:53, although the reel change markings (first set at 19:27, and another obvious set at 58:40) are quite distracting.
There is a little bit of minor aliasing and a touch here and there of moire, but this is barely noticeable. There are no MPEG artefacts.
There are subtitles in English and four other languages, plus English for the Hearing Impaired. I only watched the English for the Hearing Impaired, and they are almost a perfect rendering of the English dub. They are well-timed, and easy to read..
The disc is single sided and single layered (although the cover claims the disc is dual layered). The capacity of the single layer is adequate for the limited content we get.
There's only one soundtrack on this disc, a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack in English. It would have been good to have the original Cantonese as an option, together with a subtitle stream that accurately translated it. Call it a missed opportunity.
The English dub dialogue is easy enough to understand, although it's not all that well acted. The dub is not well-matched to the mouth movements, but that's part of this genre.
The replacement score on this disc is from Michael Wandmacher. We get one very drunken-sounding song from Jackie Chan. The music is melodramatic, but well-suited to the on-screen action.
The surround speakers get one or two fairly faint cues, but there's nothing significant — the sound is really quite frontal, with some spread across the front of the soundstage. The subwoofer gets the occasional opportunity to support the lowest octave, but it's fairly subtle.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is static and silent. The disc opens with a choice of English and Dutch, which is odd, considering that Dutch is only supplied as a subtitle track, and there are three other subtitle languages; I don't see why the opening screen doesn't offer the other languages.
An interesting interview, but awfully short to be the only extra we get. There is a little bit of overlap with the traditional set of bloopers that are shown under the credits (as is common in a Jackie Chan movie).
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 version sounds like it is the same as this one, with the interview as its only extra, but some differences in languages.
A good example of a Jackie Chan movie, given an almost bare-bones transfer to DVD.
The video quality is reasonable.
The audio quality is fairly good, but the audio sync is quite dreadful (probably deliberately).
The extra is interesting, but quite short.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|