As Christmas rapidly approaches it’s time to get in the fun ‘n’ festive mood! Many people enjoy a tipple or two during the party season, but martial arts fans know that needn’t necessarily impede someone’s skills, and in some cases, it may actually enhance them!
Ever since Jackie Chan and Yuen Siu Tien entertained audiences with their hilarious-yet-incredible alcohol-FUelled fighting skills in 1978’s smash hit Drunken Master, action stars such as Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins have all given us their version of a tipsy tussle!
So, let’s get into the “spirit” of things and take a light-hearted look at our Top 10 Drunken Martial Arts Movie Fights (in descending order)…Let us know which ones make you feel like dancing, or leave you with a hangover!
[NOTE: All jokes aside, please remember, if you do drink, do so responsibly this Christmas and STAY SAFE!] Right then, Come Drink With Us…
- New Police Story (2004) — Bar Fight
- Drunken Tai Chi (1984) — Calligraphy Duel
- Last Hero in China (1993) — Wong Fei-hung vs Lui Yat-siu
- The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) — Jackie Chan’s Drunken Beggar vs Jet Li’s Silent Monk
- Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear (2013) — Scott Adkins/Casey Bowman Bar Brawl
- Kickboxer (1989) — Van Damme Drunken Dance
- Dance of the Drunken Mantis (1979) — Yuen Siu-tien vs Hwang Jang Lee
- True Legend (2010) — Drunken Boxer vs Drunken Boxer
- Drunken Master (1978) — Jackie Chan vs Hwang Jang Lee
When Jackie Chan returned to his famous action franchise he played his role much more seriously. As Hong Kong cop Inspector Chan Kwok-wing, he seeks solace in a bottle when he blames himself for the tragic fate of his team. Young Asian star Nicholas Tse plays Frank Cheng Siu-fung who tries to save Chan’s career. Whilst Chan is seriously sozzled, the pair stumble into some villains in a bar room brawl. There is no silky-smooth drunken boxing here, but the more realistic, wild movements of a man who has had one too many. Even so, the choreography remains inventive and thrilling!
Perhaps a little bit of a cheat on this one because our hero Donnie Yen, making his big screen debut, doesn’t fuel his fighting skills with booze! His martial arts master DOES however, and there are some very cool Yuen Woo-ping choreographed fight scenes that reflect the results of his training. Not least is this duel where the young Donnie displays his impressive flexibility, acrobatics and rope dart skills!
Director Wong Jing delivers his full-on crazy comedy version of the Wong Fei-hung legend! Jet Li plays it for laughs but still displays his sublime martial arts skills with his Drunken Fist in the film’s finale. We even get Drunken Mantis and Drunken Crane thrown in for good measure!
It was the fight that martial arts fans had been waiting years for! Jackie Chan adopts the role of the Drunken Beggar, revisiting those fluid moves he helped to make so popular in his Drunken Master movies, as he faces off against Jet Li’s Silent Monk!
British martial arts action star Scott Adkins has achieved the rare feat of improving on the action in his sequels not only in the Undisputed movies but also this follow up to 2009’s “Ninja“. A standout fight scene is this drunken brawl in a bar as his character Casey Bowman seeks a little solace in a few beers. Kicking off from a classic “Did you spill my pint?” situation, the choreography is fast, powerful, frantic and occasionally, amusing!
In an amusing set up, Dennis Chan as the wise old master Xian Chow tests his student Kurt Sloane’s (played by Jean-Claude Van Damme) skills by getting him drunk and into a bar fight with some local thugs! The scene became a memorable fan favourite, not least due to Van Damme’s silky dance moves. He even recreated them for chat show host Conan over 25 years later!
Yuen Siu-tien, father of the legendary Yuen clan of martial arts stunt performers and choreographers, is the definitive Drunken Beggar by which all others are measured. In one of his final screen appearances he reprises the role of Beggar So for this pseudo-sequel to the box office smash that was “Drunken Master”. Although doubled for the more acrobatic moves against super kicker Hwang Jang Lee, there’s no denying his brilliant characterisation and portrayal of the drunken fist postures that made him synonymous with the role.
Legendary action choreographer Yuen Woo-ping made a long-awaited return to the director’s chair with this Beggar So origin story starring Vincent Zhao. Although a little obsessed with 3D visual effects, this movie still features some cracking martial arts action. It’s a stroke of genius to have two Drunken Masters go toe-to-toe in a classic teahouse fight. Just like a good measure of spirits, it’s always nice to have a double!
Although there are many great fighting and training scenes in this old-school classic, It is during the film’s finale where star Jackie Chan really gets to let loose with his drunken kung fu! Some 40 years on, Chan’s acrobatic skills in his fight against Hwang Jang Lee remain some of the most impressive and entertaining to have ever graced the silver screen! It’s little wonder that this movie cemented his status as Hong Kong cinema’s new number one star and remains a fan favourite to this day!
…and in at #1 is…
Drunken Master 2 (1994) — The Purse Snatchers
Having spent the best part of a decade making stunt-filled action films, in 1994 Jackie Chan wanted to return to a more traditional martial arts movie. He reprised his role from one of his most popular films with spectacular results. The initial fight scenes deliberately tease at his drunken fist skills, with Jackie always just holding back. But for the scene with the purse snatchers, hilariously urged on by his onscreen mum played by Anita Mui, he explodes into a torrent of fluid drunken moves! This scene is a joy to behold with some sublime choreography. Many of the moves were even replicated in the Virtua Fighter video games. Coupled with the explosive finale, “Drunken Master 2” became an instant fan favourite. As a result, ever since its release, one of Jackie Chan’s most commonly asked questions is “when are you making another Drunken Master film?”!
So there we have it folks, some of the Top 10 Drunken Martial Arts Movie Fights…which is your favourite drunken fight scene ever; do you like the drunken fist style featured in movies such as The Shaolin Temple, or “Shaolin Drunkard”? Who is YOUR favourite Drunken Movie Master (did you emulate them after a glass or two)? Let us know in the comments below and like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. Stumble on into the FUniverse and sharpen up your reflexes with these other Top 10’s, news and subscribe for videos too!)