Two arrested bandits are being transported by the governor’s son Chang (Wong Chung) when the bandit gang sets upon them, rescuing their members, slaying all of Chang’s men and taking him prisoner. Legendary warrior Golden Swallow (Cheng Pei-pei) is sent to rescue Chang, who is also her brother, and along the way she receives help from a kung fu master living as a drunken beggar named Drunken Cat (Yueh Hua).
This film was nominated for me to watch by Elwood Jones of the Mad, Bad and Downright Strange Showcase, TV Good Sleep Bad and From the Depths of DVD Hell, and dammit Elwood but it’s the only movie I’ve had to watch this year that I’ve had to pay for. I couldn’t find it anywhere, so begrudgingly paid £2.49 to watch it on YouTube, only to discover it was dubbed. I’m not a fan of dubbing in live action films (for some reason I’m OK watching dubbed animation, as long as the mouths are re-animated to sync) but a live action dubbed film is normally a big no-no. Sadly it was the only option available, so I gritted my teeth and just got on with it. The things I do for movies.
This year has been something of an eye-opener for me and martial arts films, what with Enter the Dragon and another Shaw brothers film, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, being amongst the other nominated films I’ve watched. Where I loved Enter the Dragon and really liked The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, I can’t say the same for Come Drink With Me. It isn’t bad, it just didn’t grab me as much as those other two did, and the only thing that set it apart was the female lead. Pei-pei is good at the stunts and overall artistry in the lead role, but I found her character quite bland and dull. She is a very capable fighter, right up until the plot requires her to need help and be too quick to anger, something that hadn’t been a problem previously, because then they didn’t need her to be trained by Drunken Cat.
However the fight scenes are for the most part great. In particular one towards the middle of the film between Golden Swallow and the bandit leader Jade-Faced Tiger (Chan Hung-lit) was a particular highlight, especially when the two were fighting to get to a discarded blade. The villains for the most part blended together apart from the main ones who were all great, and there’s one particular bad-ass moment from Drunken Cat when he shows a display of might, only to discover it wasn’t enough to make his antagonists flee, so he asks “Are you tired of living?” It’s a small moment, but I liked it. However there are still other better martial arts movies far greater than this one, so unless you absolutely need your martial artistry to come with a female lead I’d look elsewhere.
Choose Life 6/10