Come Drink…and Laugh with Me

June 2, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Posted in itchy mouth | 1 Comment
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Last Saturday, Itchyfingers had a most entertaining night watching what is considered as one of the greatest classics in Hong Kong movie history. For those of you who missed the lobang, it was another free Movie Under the Banyan Tree night organised by the National Museum.

Released in 1966, Come Drink with Me 大醉侠 (literally translated as “The Drunken Hero”) was director King Hu‘s 胡金铨 first foray into martial art (or wuxia) films, setting a new standard for the genre with its artistically choreographed fighting scenes and beautifully set backdrops.

The film had been remastered and digitised on 35mm print

I had heard of the film but had no idea of its synopsis but Tisu Boy had seen the trailer on the net, and said it looked very gan chiong (exciting). So with high expectations, we waited in anticipation with the many who turned out despite the heavy rain in the afternoon.

The film opened with a si bay vast land with soldiers escotting the governor’s son to attend to some business. Then a from-far-and-behind-see-like-si-bay-handsome young man in white stood in their way.

Wow! Prince Charming?

He turned out to be a second-in-command for a ruthless gang of bandits who wanted to kidnap the official in exchange for their leader’s release from prison. Wow! Second Brother? So should be highly prowessed and looked quite man and strong right?

Wow lao leh…turned out to be a heavily make-up nerdy guy with dark
eye shadows like he got them free from cosmetic counters demos during
the Great Singapore Sale and super thick face powder that was so glaring
my eyes hurt…oh, and those red lips….

Guess what was his name? JADE FACED TIGER 玉面虎! Hahaha…so apt!

Following their success, the governor sent the legendary Golden Swallow 金燕子 (starred by 19 years old Cheng Pei-Pei 郑佩佩) to rescue him. Golden Swallow, disguised as a man, met up with members of the gangs in an inn.

A stern looking Golden Swallow surveying the inn with rolling eyes…:p

Tension soon built up, as they demanded her (or him) to ask the governor to agree with the exchange while she ordered them to surrender. So both sides started to pitch against each other with various flying objects, and there were obvious ‘jumps’ in these sequels, like when the coins were thrown onto her and she strung them up with chopsticks etc. 😀  The fighting scenes looked a bit comical now, cos more than half the time the actors would be posing and staring at one another with the background music building up tension, but the actual fight would usually be a few exchange of strokes and just when you longed for more fighting, they would be ended with someone brought down by a single blow. 😀 The baddies soon retreated after getting a taste of Golden Swallow’s skill.

I always dun understand why these people in the movies always failed to tell a female in disguise from a male. Isn’t it obvious? All these while, a drunk beggar aka Drunken Cat (starred by Yueh Hua 岳华) looked in amusement as they fought. He turned out to be a kung fu (martial art) master, who in the middle of the night, led Golden Swallow away from her room, thus helping her escaped from being killed in her sleep. The scene where she was jumping on the roof reminded me of Ang Lee’s 2000 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 卧虎藏龙. Lee was said to have been inspired by this movie and Cheng Pei Pei was cast as the villainous Jade Fox.

With the beggar’s hint, Swallow managed to figure out the bandits’ hiding place in a monastry. Alone, she confronted them, this time dressed as a lady. Strangely, now the bandits were able to recognise her as the same ‘male’ Golden Swallow in the inn. Aiyo, which normal guy would call himself a swallow?? So sissy! 😀 Wanna call also will call himself Golden Eagle or Golden Vulture mah! More ferocious and manly mah! 8)

Rolling eyes from left to right again, surveying the temple for danger

Wow lao, how could the guy’s face be made so much fairer than a girl??
She’s doing her slow motioned eye rolling, head turning action again…

Another round of posing around and staring started before the actual fight began…

If only staring could kill….

Fight…stare…and fight again…! Cannot fight? I fly!

I think our Fair-faced Tiger decided that it was taking too long to fight and too straining to the eyes to stare, so he decided to finish her off himself with a classic deadly poisonous dart shot directly from his paper fan! 

Badly injured, Swallow seeked refuge among the forest

Swallow was eventually saved by the Drunken Cat. By now the poison had gone into her blood, and the beggar had to suck it out with his mouth. A pretty daring scene at that time to show such intimacy! Er, but how come his mouth won’t get the poison? :p Earlier on during the fight scenes, her clothes were ripped off showing bits of her under garment, probably another daring shot at that time. But these scenes just looked so amusing for audiences now…so we all just giggled away with the bad guys…:p

“I have to use my mouth to suck out the poison from your chest…
if you dun mind…”

Drunken Cat playing the fool at the bandits’ hiding place

Cat soon found out that the Evil Monk who was on the bandits’ side was his elder whom he used to train under the same master.

“That Drunken Cat’s prowess is now very powerful…Ha! But compared to
me, still far leh!”

“My elder’s kung fu is very steady now, I dun think I can ever beat him…”

Thinking he could not possibly win his elder, he decided to fake the exchange of prisoner. We had another rounds of fighting, this time involving more characters but still with the same amount of funny moments. The way the fight scenes were done last time was less gruesome and less blood involved, with the exception of one guy holding another’s chopped off hand (more laughter from audience). Most of the time, they would show closeups of the supposedly painful expression of those killed.

You would expect to see a really tough fight between Cat and Monk, especially after seeing how powerful he was – Swallow’s sword couldn’t stab into his body and he could just snapped off her sword effortlessly. But again, the first fight was done in seconds…much to the audiences’ amusement…:p

Wow lao! No CGI nevermind! Got fire extinguisher can liao! 😀

Heee…actually quite imaginative huh…how else to show that you have strong inner strength other then to ooze smoke into your opponent’s eyes? 😀

Surprisingly, Cat won and let the Monk off. But the despicable Monk came back to launch a secret attack at Cat’s place. The audience had another round of giggles seeing the fight…:p  More smoke lor…:p

I think to today’s audiences, the fighting scenes in Come Drink with Me might be a little too slow and crude. But for that era, it probably was a groundbreaking attempt by the Director, not forgetting the many sets and beautifully shot scenes. Very entertaining and certainly worth your time watching!

The ending? Itchyfingers had revealed too much. Go grab a copy of the dvd yourself! :p By the way, according to some sites, a 12 year old Jackie Chan had a cameo role in the movie. So keep your eyes open!

 Also see related posts:
> Open Air Cinema
> Singing in the Rain under the Banyan Tree


1 Comment »

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  1. eye shadows can really make a great looking face specially if it was done by a professional make up artist :”

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