Alternatives to Sight and Sound's Top 250 Films of All Time list named by /r/truefilm's community. With notes. Inspired by…
Come Drink with Me
Cheng Pei-pei plays Golden Swallow, a fighter-for-hire who has been contracted by the local government to retrieve the governor's kidnapped son. Holding him is a group of rebels who are demanding that their leader be released from prison in return for the captured son. After a brief encounter with the gang at a local restaurant, Golden Swallow is joined by an inebriated wanderer Drunken Cat (Yueh Hua) who aids her in her mission.
classic kung fu movies are a huge blind spot for me, so watching this was kind of like dorothy stepping into oz for the first time.
The action staging is to die for. The whole universe zings and hums in the long takes as they clank by in incendiary bursts. The feel of it is perfect: graceful slashes of motion, perfect pure flashes of cinema/music/poetry.
Golden Swallow is incredible. Not only does King Hu grant us a iron tough female warrior with a scowl that could peel the flesh off faces, but he grants us a small army of woman warriors. I find this so incredible. We've seen such a push for diverse representation in media in recent years, it's stunning and a bit of a cuff to the collective ear to beam Cheng Pei Pei from '66 into now. THIS.…
The best wuxia pic from King Hu. Those of you looking for blood won't be disappointed. This is one tough and ruthless film. But it also contains a certain kind of grace, thanks to Hu's mastery of spacial dynamics during the action sequences. Hu's said that he deliberately chose a ballet dancer (Cheng Pei Pei) for the lead role and it's easy to see why. Thankfully, Hu's doesn't undermine her skills with rapid-fire editing like a novice would. Many of the action shots are longer than what we've become accustomed to watching and contain much more beautifully choreographed movements. And unlike some of his other films such as Touch of Zen, Hu doesn't burden the narrative. Everything is crisp and there's no extra fat. A masterpiece!
I can't say it better than Claire did (where are you come back), but I would add my voice to hers (and so many others). It has what I want from action films (clear, graceful action), and it has what I want from films (beautiful visuals, bright scenery, long takes, dynamics). It has bags of style (look at how Sparrow and her companions dress, holy shit I am jealous). It feels epic despite being a normal length film (the classic 90ish minutes), because everything that happens has grandeur to it, drawn out in costumes, landscapes, and extended shots.
It's a simple tale but not a bad one; characters have their own stories and these weave into one tight little narrative.…
Another great wuxia flick from Hu. It seems pretty obvious to say that the best action directors are the ones that have a real sense of spatial dynamics, but it ought to be emphasised in Hu's case. It's noticeable, especially in the inn scenes towards the start, that he had 'deliberately chosen a ballet dancer for the lead female role', Cheng Pei-pei is brilliant, such bold yet graceful movements met with the rapid-fire editing cutting to and from faces and swords clashing in an almost ruthless dance of metal. Narratively, this hardly flows as smoothly as Touch of Zen but that has nearly three hours to sort everything out; this manages to set-up a story of politics, kidnapping, and Kung Fu in about half the time and does so pretty nicely too. One or two false endings make the real finale seem all the more claustrophobic and bloody, I mean, really bloody. Ruthless, indeed.
There's the ending, and then the ending after the ending. And then there's the ending after the ending that undermines the other two endings by trying to play the moral of the film both ways by espousing the rejection of bloody vengeance, but giving the audience the violent thrill anyway. This is the central theme of the era of the genre this film initiated: the conflict between the moral imperative for forgiveness and the just demand for revenge, oft-dramatized as a conflict between Confucian filial piety (respect for one's father/master/family demands vengeance on their behalf) and the Buddhist and Taoist belief in the cyclical nature of violence, that only by withdrawing from worldly concerns can the circle be broken. The moral and the bloody, the spiritual and the earthly, the desire to enlighten and the need to entertain.
Shaw Brothers wuxia in Shaw-Scope. Hong Kong doesn't get much better than that. Come Drink with Me is a simple little action flick. The bad guys want their leader, who has been arrested and is due to be hanged, returned. Bad guys capture an official, the governor's son. Golden Sparrow, Constable and daughter of the governor, sets out to retrieve her brother. Their are rivalries, mysterious strangers, and powerful forms. The plot is thin and serves as inspiration to move from one bloody set-piece to another. Not quite geysers, but the blood does spray. The fight scenes lack the fluid camera work which characterises Hong Kong in the proceeding decades, which allows fights to play out in long takes. Here…
Every time I see this, I'm surprised at how much this formed the foundation of Wu xia films and how much of Crouching Tiger is influenced from it. Cheng Pei Pei totally kill it in this.
Now that I have started gradually exploring the Shaw Brothers filmography, the name King Hu repeatedly came up as some kind of mythical amazingly out-of-this-world director of Martial Arts. So quite looked forward to watching my first King Hu flick and, what can I say, from all the Shaw Brothers films I have seen so far this actually was pretty much my least favourite.
True, the action sequences are amazing as expected but even given the feeble storylines of similar movies, this plot stretches your suspension of disbelief to its limits with characters always walking into the most ridiculous death traps with complete disregard for what may be in store. An obviously female character is repeatedly addressed as "boy". And…
With a director called King Hu you might expect this to be awesome, for me it wasn't though. Hey I will say though that as it moves along its running time of 90 minutes or so it gets slightly better as it goes, bringing in beautiful sets and some crazy but yet interesting characters (one guy sings, what more can you want).
The films cast are possibly what makes this kind of good, I mean the acting isn't always great and the lines can be fairly mediocre but actors like Yueh Hua, Chan Hung-lit and Cheng Pei-pei just about turn some over dramatic acting into decent territory. I hear some say the second half is poor but for me it's…
"Why don't we have a drink and talk it out?"
The ambiguity of which side individuals are on in the opening (the way a hand is lopped off should have clued me in) makes the intro of our protagonist that much better. Huzzah strong female hero! The long-take action scenes are magnificent, especially at the temple, though Golden Swallow does telegraph some of the action at times. The way the mysteries behind character motivation (i.e. Drunken Cat) unfold keep the narrative crisp and engaging. The final third falters tremendously though as the story veers off-track in an attempt to bring in more epic elements. But as a glimpse of things to come, this is a great starting point for those interested in Hu's filmography.
Can I add "dying in glorious exaggerated fashion while being run through by the blade of a wuxia hero" to my bucket list?
The effects and fight choreography are very rough in spots, but its a rich world with vivid colors, characters and sets. A lot of fun.
I think some superhero films (and some superhero film detractors) could learn a lot from watching wuxia films.
An influential martial arts movie form the Shaw Bros, not least because it had a strong female protagonist at the center of the story. Indeed, viewers may have to suspend disbelief in the opening scenes as various opponents mistake kung-fu expert Golden Swallow for a man, despite the fact she is clearly a young, beautiful woman. Cheng Pei-Pei was chosen for the role due to her background in ballet and her graceful movements add a real elegance to the fight scenes as she glides around beating the shit out of clumsy expendable opponents. So it's all a bit of a shame that half way through the film, the plot demands she suffers the indignity of being rescued by a man…
Come Drink with Me is a really entertaining 90 minute Hong Kong wuxia film. It has bags of intrigue, in its fairly complex plot, while the balletic action scenes are an absolute joy. It may not have the otherworldly brilliance of King Hu's later masterpieces, but it is a striking film. It is precisely captured, with a focus on action you can actually see. The sets are really cool, while Cheng Pei-pei is superb in the lead role. A really solid, well-crafted film.
It's a real bummer that the third act is almost completely derailed by the male sidekick's arc, because I was totally down with watching a young woman wreck bad dudes to free her brother.
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