Brentwood's Rarescope is doing a wonderful job bringing kung-fu movies to viewers, especially the rare stuff that most people haven't seen. One example of this is martial-arts comedy "Drunken Dragon," with its bizarre characters and extremely odd training. It's not Rarescope's best, but it is fun.
Master of Doom (Phillip Ko) and his lethal henchmen are trying to steal the seven-star armor, which theoretically makes one invincible. But it isn't where they thought it would be -- it turns out to be on an old lady, who lives with her somewhat loserish grandson Doggy. After one of the henchmen beats up Doggy, Granny sends him off to his great-uncle -- with the armor.
Unfortunately, the guys catch the old lady without the armor, and kill her. Doggy and the great-uncle (who is madly in love with Granny) return to find her remains in an urn. Doggy vows revenge, but he can only become strong enough by undergoing his great-uncle's strenuous training...
"Drunken Dragon" -- I'm not sure why it's called this, since there isn't much drinking here -- is a nice solid little kung-fu movie, the sort you'd find gathering dust in a video store until a cult movie fan picks it up. It's all you'd expect, with a basic revenge plot and some slightly sick comedy reminiscent of Monty Python.
Actionwise, "Drunken Dragon" is a semiprecious gem, with lots of the usual kicking and chopping, but also with one gloriously bizarre scene involving a one-legged martial-artist in a wheeled boat. Doggy's training is pretty bizarre, with the old man repeatedly hitting him with a giant hammer to make his reflexes stronger, while wearing a Michelin Man bodysuit.
There is one problem, though -- the early plot involves Doggy's fiancee, a chubby but powerful girl (sort of a female Sammo Hung). After Doggy insults her, she leaves for her village, and he repents -- the whole thing is sort of dropped.
The main characters here are Doggy and his great-uncle. Doggy is good as a rather idle young man who suddenly finds a motive to become an unstoppable martial-artist. But the great-uncle -- who is more than a little crazy -- is the scene-stealer, with dozens of odd inventions and a lifelong grudge against his brother.
"Drunken Dragon" is a nice, comedic little kung-fu revenge story, with some very peculiar action and its sense of humor firmly in place. Definitely worth checking out.