All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
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.
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!
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.…
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.
King Hu's first martial arts film, and his first great success (it broke box-office records in Asia), this Ming Dynasty thriller drew on "Japanese samurai epics and Chinese Opera traditions to create a new kind of action movie in which battle is a form of mythic ballet. The scenario and characters are delineated in quick, deft strokes: a band of comically menacing kidnappers faces off against larger-than-life heroine Golden Swallow (the great Zheng Peipei), whose mesmerizing stare cuts almost as deep as her sword, and her mysterious ally, a drunken minstrel with a shadowy past and unexpected powers. The fight scenes, choreographed by opera veteran Han Yingjie, are masterpieces of pacing, moments of silent tension exploding into a flurry of flashing blades and furious percussion. Hu's inventive editing and camera movements and his idiosyncratic narrative style—veering from swordplay to song, comedy to revelation—create an intoxicating sensation of unpredictable motion." (Juliet Clark)
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.…
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.
Engaging plot, interesting characters. I like nearly everything about this kung-fu movie except for the kung-fu. (Which is sort of a problem). The fights rely far too much on this shot:
A) A bunch of bad guys jump a good guy,
B) Close up of good guy's hands doing something
C) Pull back; all the bad guys are dead.
On the other hand, fights without that editing are super stiff.
One other thing that bothered me the longer that the movie progressed: a severe case of Trinity Syndrome (before Trinity was even born...)
Dang! This movie has it all! A badass lady, a badass fake-drunk dude, breathtaking fights, melodrama, revenge, magic, subterfuge, AND a musical number! I mean, really. I feel I could watch this movie all day.
"Pardon us if we sing poorly."
dreams of blood and wine
Watched with Rachel and Lauren via Hulu as part of our Female Action Protagonist series.
I can see how Come Drink With Me could be considered an influential martial arts film, but it's not match for King Hu's true masterpiece, A Touch of Zen. I can forgive much of the story not making sense, or even most of the fight scenes mainly consisting of sounds of metal clanging together, but how in the hell did the people in the inn actually believe that the main (I guess she's the main) was a man? Don't worry, I didn't spoil anything there, it's obvious from the beginning. The film, as a whole, is more influential than it is good or entertaining.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
This movie has a nasty over-the-top villain, crossdressing women, drinking, a henchman who seems like a nice smiley guy if he wasn't evil, a dude who bought the "Swords: How Do They Work?" video series but hasn't gotten to Episode 2: "Where and How to Hold", a great purple-skies-mystical-waterfall-loner-cabin set, lots of expendable background characters dying in ridiculous ways, musical numbers that double as convoluted ways of passing secret information and a confused sense of whether violence is a good thing. It's the platonic ideal of the martial arts movie.
Come Drink with me is a bloody Wuxia flick with action, humour and a healthy amount of cheese. It's unadulterated cinematic fun.
I feel like I should like this more, but I just didn't. I hate it when that happens.
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