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Come Drink With Me Blu-ray Review

“Come Drink With Me” is a top tier martial arts film.

Directed by King Hu (who is best known for “A Touch Of Zen” and “Dragon Inn”), 1966’s “Come Drink with Me” is a Shaw Brothers wuxia film. The story begins with a group of bandits taking the Governor’s son hostage. They are hoping to use him as leverage to free one of their own from captivity (even though he’s set to be executed). Enter Golden Swallow- the hostage’s sister (who nobody initially knows is a woman). She’s an expert swordsman who is trying to free her brother, but that’s easier said than done. The situation becomes complicated by a wine guzzling beggar known as Drunken Cat. He’s a mysterious figure who may be hiding secrets or ulterior motives. Could he be an ally for Golden swallow?

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” may be the most famous wuxia film, but “Come Drink With Me” was released many years before it and clearly influenced the former. It’s also a better film. King Hu (who also co-wrote the film alongside Ting Shan-hsi) is at his best here with a very simple, but effective story about law, loyalty, and family. It’s very much a character piece with both Golden Swallow (Cheng Pei-pei) and Drunken Cat (Yueh Hua) having considerably well rounded characters (not to mention both cast members delivering memorable performances). Seeing how the character dynamic unfolds is really rewarding. This isn’t a slapped together martial arts movie that is built around the action. Instead, the action is built around the character journey with each fight sequence advancing their story.

Despite having some clear budget limitations on sequences, ‘Drink’ offers up rousing action sequences. In typical wuxia fashion, there are swordfights, bloody combat, wirework, gravity defying leaps, acrobatics and wall climbs and, yes, even some wind powers (you’ll see what I mean). Every action set piece whether it be at an inn, temple, or the climactic one v one duel is a visual triumph.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? Arrow Video has been doing a great service to martial arts film fans lately with the wealth of Shaw Brothers releases and this title is no exception. Fans can expect another crisp hi-def transfer here.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mandarin and English Original Mono. How does it sound? The Mandarin track is clean and is the preferred choice here. The English track features stiff voice acting, but the quality itself is decent.
Extras:
* Commentary by film critic/film historian Tony Rayns
* 3 separate interviews with actress Cheng Pei-pei (from 2003), actor Yueh Hua (from 2007) and actor Chen Hung-lieh (from 2003).
* “Come Drink With Me” theatrical trailer, “Golden Swallow” trailer and Digital Reissue trailer and an image gallery.
* A booklet with photos, credits, transfer info, and 2 essays by critic/author Anne Billson and George Chun Han Wang.
* A 2016 Q&A with Cheng Pei-pei at the University Of Hawaii with moderator George Chun Han Wang.
* “Cinema Hong Kong: Swordfighting”- Part 2 of a 2003 Shaw Brothers documentary

April 16, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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