Come Drink With Me (1966) Review

"Come Drink With Me" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Come Drink With Me" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Director: King Hu
Writer: King Hu, Ye Yang
Producer: Run Run Shaw
Cast: Cheng Pei Pei, Yueh Hua, Chen Hung Lieh, Yeung Chi Hing, Simon Yuen (Siu Tin), Guk Fung, Lee Wan Chung, Kok Lee Yan, Han Ying Chieh, Fung Ngai, Nam Wai Lit, Wong Yeuk Ping, Chan Hei, Jackie Chan, Yam Ho
Running Time: 91 min.

By Mighty Peking Man

I was hesitant to watch a Shaw Brothers movie made in 1966; I admit, the stuff I have grown to love in kung fu cinema started in the 1970s: the colorful gore of Chang Cheh, the intensity of Bruce Lee, and the physical genius of Jackie Chan. So, could there possibly be some appeal in a late 1960s flick for me? Hmmm… 1966… let’s see, Sergio Leone made The Good, The Bad & The Ugly; The Beatles made Revolver (okay, that’s an album, but you get my point). The fact is, yes, the 1960s was a groovy time for music and movies all over the world, and the Shaw Brothers produced-films were no exception.

I’ve never been a big fan of heroine kung fu movies; in fact, I’ve tried to stay away from them every chance I got. Could you blame me for being a male chauvinist pig when it came to genuine ass kicking? Of course not. With Come Drink With Me, I’m forced to say that Cheng Pei Pei (who plays Golden Swallow, the film’s protagonist) is the real deal; for the first time in kung fu movie history, I actually enjoyed seeing a woman beat the hell out of the bad guys. I’m not sure what it exactly is about her, but she pulls off a believable kung fu fighting babe and does a much better job portraying one than Angela Mao, Michelle Yeoh and Moon Lee COMBINED… and I’m not talking in a fight choreography sense; I’m talking in terms of how she carries herself with her no-nonsense charisma. And who knows, maybe some of the credit could be given to director King Hu? Frankly, I haven’t seen enough of his or Cheng Pei Pei’s work to give a valid opinion.

As it stands, Come Drink With Me is one entertaining film. I’ve heard both good and bad things about it… it’s “boring”, there’s “too much talk”, it’s a “classic”, it’s “influential”… I’m shooting for the more positive remarks. It has a plot that’s solid and simple. It’s probably not as graphic and action packed as your average Chang Cheh film, but you do get the occasional blood-in-the-face shots, dismembered body parts and even some mystical shit (and the visual effects were done pretty damn well, especially for the time). Even the villains are colorful and have a lot more character than the majority of baddies in an average kung fu film. And you have to love Golden Swallow’s semi-sidekick, Drunken Cat, played by Yueh Hua.

King Hu’s direction is top notch. The cinematography is beautiful. The sets are visually lavish. For the most part, the fight choreography may seem bland when compared to today’s standards, but to even up the odds, they bare less edits and camera tricks. To sum it all up, Come Drink With Me is a film that I appreciate and its innovation and influence reflects many popular martial arts movies of today. Sounds like a classic to me.

And now, my eyes are drooling over Golden Swallow (the Chang Cheh-directed sequel to Come Drink With Me) and the One Armed Swordsman series.

Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 8/10

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