- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Label: Ground Zero
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Description by OLDIES.com:
Donnie Yen Chi-tan made his film debut in Yuen Woo-ping's DRUNKEN TAI-CHI, a rollicking period kung fu farce featuring some incredible acts of agility. Fun loving Chin Dao (Yen) is always getting into trouble. One day, he humiliates the son of a local boss and, when the boy tries to get revenge using firecrackers, Chin fights back and accidentally drives his opponent mad. The stricken boy's father (Don Wang Tao) hires a mute assassin called The Killer Bird (Yuen Shun-yee, billed in the English credits here as Armstrong Yuen) to wipe out Chin's family. Dao is not at home when The Bird attacks and loses his father and brother (Yuen Yat-chor, credited as Simon Yuen Jr.) as a result. Unsure of what to do with his life, Dao meets up with an eccentric puppeteer (Yuen Cheung-yan, playing another of his rat-faced old weirdos) and his extra-large wife (Lydia Shum Tin-ha) who try to teach him a trade. Dao's incompetence soon finds him back on the street, where he inadvertently saves The Bird's son from some kidnappers. In spite of this act of charity, the mute still tries to eliminate Dao and the latter barely escapes alive. The Puppeteer then agrees to instruct Dao in the "Soft Style" of tai chi boxing, the only successful defense against Bird's great strength.
Some of the low brow humor grates (a problem exacerbated by the dubbing) but this remains a highly enjoyable outing, reminiscent of Yuen's DRUNKEN MASTER in its approach. The training sequences are wonderfully inventive, making great use of such unlikely teaching aids as birds and cotton, and Yen is incredibly graceful and agile. There are a number of anachronistic gags; the best one finds the young star engaging in a little makeshift breakdancing! Only the routine storyline and weak ending keep the film from attaining the same heights as its model. The soundtrack includes music lifted from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.
Also included on the DVD is Hwa Yi-hung's DYNAMO, a Bruce Li vehicle that the Yuens choreographed. Li (real name: Ho Chung-tao) plays HK cabbie Lee Tien-yee, whose martial talents and pronounced resemblance to the late Bruce Lee make him a natural for the movie and advertising biz. His bosses hires a lazy, alcoholic kung fu instructor (a charismatic turn by the dependable Ku Feng) to train Lee, and the two get off to the sort of rocky start that masters and students always do in these films. Lee's abilities increase substantially, of course, and his popularity becomes a threat to rival ad agencies. One decides to try and have the star bumped off, first during a practice bout and, later, at various stops during a whirlwind promotional tour. He brushes these opponents back without much difficulty but, when his girlfriend is kidnapped, Lee is ordered to take a dive during a prestigious martial arts tournament in Chicago.
While it ranks among the better Bruce Li/Le/Dragon Lee features, DYNAMO still has little besides solid fights and that reflexive premise (a Bruce Lee imitator starring in a story about the travails of a Bruce Lee imitator!) to recommend it. Also, someone decided after the fact that the movie was either too short or needed more action, so two fights from BRUCE LEE: HIS LAST DAYS, HIS LAST NIGHTS have been cut in. Trouble is, that film stars Danny Lee, who only bears a slight resemblance to Bruce Lee and Bruce Li! Yuen Woo-ping, Yuen Yat-chor, and Yuen Shun-yee all appear briefly, as do Peter Chan Lung, Lee Hoi-sang, and Donald Kong To.