Drunken Tai Chi (1984)

Directed by
Semi-old school, quite enjoyable
Reviewed by Simon on 2001-05-27

Donnie Yen beats and humiliates a rich kid, so his father hires a mute killer to wipe out Donnie's family. Donnie takes refuge with a bickering old couple, who teach him the soft style of Tai Chi to counter the killer's raw hardness.

I like the film - it has a nice explanation of the principles of Tai Chi and some interesting Yuen Clan action sequences that are a curious blend of old school choreography with wires & gimmicks & some nasty speed up. The straightforward plot is really just a bridge between the constant displays of action and comedy. Some of the comedy is rather crude, but the action is all quite inventive. There are some great bits involving fireworks.

The film possibly falls between two camps - old school fans might be offended by the wirework and undercranking, whilst fans of new wave martial arts might find it a bit crude compared to later films. Both should be able to find something to enjoy though.

It should be noted that whilst Donnie learns Tai Chi from a drunkard, the Tai Chi itself is not actually drunken. Also that Donnie Yen has never looked more like a chipmunk than he does in his debut, which may or may not be considered a selling point, depending on taste :-)