13 August 2016 | Leofwine_draca
The surreal touches make this kung fu outing a delight
DRUNKEN DRAGON is a madcap Taiwanese comedy fantasy action film made in the same style as TAOISM DRUNKARD and SHAOLIN DRUNKARD. The insane opening sequence sees a trio of super-villains infiltrate a booby-trapped monastery in search of some mystical armour. These bad guys have to be seen to be believed: their ringleader is the ubiquitous Phillip Ko with an extendable metal palm; one of his men has a lit candle on his head which doubles as a flame thrower, while the third carries a deadly go-kart with spiked wheels that amputate limbs. The action scene in the monastery is indebted to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK before turning into a delightfully bizarre fight involving a crippled monk who rows a little boat with wheels. Add in amputation, computer noises on the soundtrack, and more than a little surrealism, and you have one arresting film opening.
Things slow down a little from this point in. The viewer is introduced to the bumbling hero character Doggy, but the supporting cast is more interesting. Former FIVE DEADLY VENOMS actor Chiang Seng plays Doggy's grandmother in drag, and is soon the focus of the villainous trio's search as she possesses the aforementioned armour. DRUNKEN DRAGON takes time out for plenty of lowbrow humour as Doggy encounters an old flame who has grown into a rather overweight young woman. Scenes of her running along are intercut with footage of a pig (!). Another stand-out scene is the ritual in which the good guys attempt to retrieve the missing soul of a comatose man. The elements of this ritual are absolutely crazy and it's one of the weirdest things I've ever witnessed, particularly when he's being dragged along the floor by the hook on his head.
Eventually Doggy is sent off on a path of revenge, at which point he joins forces with his crazy old uncle, played by an unrecognisable Kar-Yan Leung behind a mop of white hair. His uncle trains him to a Jean-Michel Jarre soundtrack and uses mallets to good effect, and then the scene is set for a traditionally violent climax that has flying guillotine style weapons and the like. There are also bizarre proto-cameras, implements, and a toy owl thrown into the mix. It's all very weird and, I have to say, thoroughly entertaining with it, even if you're not sure what's going on!