Jackie Chan's first issue with Drunken Master (and how it changed for the sequel)
Jackie Chan had a major problem in one of his most iconic kung fu films, Drunken Master. Here's what it was and how it influenced him making the sequel.
The first installment of Jackie Chan and Drunken Master had a huge impact on plans for a sequel. The original Drunken Master film, directed by Yuan Heping, was released in 1978 and was a huge hit when it was released in Hong Kong. Today, it is considered one of the best films of martial arts actors.
Drunken Master played an important role in Jackie Chan's acting career in Hong Kong. This martial arts comedy has an enduring reputation as one of the genre's best comedies. Its popularity led the studio behind the movie to decide to make a sequel nearly two decades later. In 1994, Golden Harvest released "Drunken Master", and Jackie Chan returned to the leading role. In both films, the actor played Once Upon a Time, an alcoholic kung fu expert who uses the "drunken fist" of the Chinese martial art.
What Jackie Chan Didn't Like About Drunken Master's Story
In Drunken Master, the protagonist's drinking is an integral part of the plot. Similar to Drunken Fist in other kung fu movies, Jackie Chan's Huang is always at his best drunk. So in a sense, Drunken Master points out the positive side of alcoholism. In his autobiography "Never Grow Up" Up, Chan explained that he was "shocked" by this element of the story when he rewatched the movie. He felt that Zui Quan was essentially teaching people to fight while drunk. According to him, he corrected a "mistake" in his past by ensuring that Drunken Master (also known as Drunken Master II) had a better message.
How Drunken Master II Fixed The Original Movie's Message
As pointed out by Chan in Never Grow Up, Golden Harvest's Drunken Master II does not use the same drinking method as its processor. While Wong continues to use drunken punching in the sequel, the movie doesn't downplay his drinking. In fact, it drew attention to his drug addiction and the problems it caused to his family and health. He even lost a fight because of it. Unlike the original film, "Drunken Master" forces Wong Kar-wai to confront the unfortunate consequences of this lifestyle in real life. Not only are you suffering, but those around you are also suffering.
Once Upon a Time eventually decided to quit drinking for good, but the threat of losing to the main villain in the final battle of Drunken Master II caused Jackie Chan's Once Upon a Time to use Drunken Master again. But rather than portraying Wong as simply relapsing, the scene was interpreted as a form of sacrifice. The hero understands that alcoholism can take its toll on him personally if he breaks his vow not to drink. After he wins, it's revealed at the end of the film that drinking has caused permanent brain damage. While it's a sad end to his two-movie arc, it also pays off for his story in a way that doesn't erase his previous mistakes.