Come Drink with Me (1966)
Come Drink with Me (大醉俠, literally Big Drunken Hero) is a 1966 martial arts-action film directed by King Hu. Set during the Ming Dynasty, it stars Cheng Pei-Pei and Elliot Ngok as warriors, and features fight choreography by Han Yingjie. It is widely considered one of the best Hong Kong movies ever made.
Hong Kong theatrical poster
Directed by King Hu
A general's son is taken hostage and used as leverage to free a bandit leader. The general’s other offspring, Golden Swallow (Cheng Pei Pei), is sent to rescue the son. When the bandit gang encounter the Golden Swallow in a local inn, the prisoner negotiation escalates to bloodshed and the goons are swiftly defeated.
A local drunk beggar named Fan Da-Pei (Elliot Ngok) acts as Golden Swallow's guardian angel, secretly helping her avoid being ambushed at night. That morning Fan Da-Pei, who now we know only as "Drunken Cat" tips off Golden Swallow to the bandits whereabouts. The have taken siege of a Buddhist temple. Under the guise of an acolyte Golden Swallow penetrates the temple and confront the man who's taken her brother hostage. During the brawl she is injured by a deadly poisoned dart. She escapes and is rescued in the woods by Fan who nurses her back to health. While she's convalescing, Golden Swallow learns that Fan is a martial arts master and a leader of a Kung Fu society. Unfortunately, the bandits have allied with an evil abbot, who is the rival for the leadership of Fan's sect. The evil abbot is revealed to be Fan's brother who had inducted him into the Green Wand Kung-Fu school. For both reasons, Fan is reluctant to fight the abbot even though Fan knows about the abbot's criminal deeds.
In order to release the General's son, Fan stages a prisoner exchange. During the exchange, the government soldiers receive the General's son, but Fan prevents the bandits from releasing their leader. As the government soldiers march the bandit leader back to prison, the bandits attack the procession. Golden Swallow, leading her female warriors, fight off the bandits. The evil abbot forces a showdown with Fan Da-Pei.
Cheng Pei-Pei as Golden Swallow
Jackie Chan is rumoured to have appeared as one of the child singers near the beginning of the film. Lead actress Cheng denied this in the audio commentary to the Hong Kong DVD release of the film. Still, the film is listed among Chan's acting credits on his official website.
King Hu told critic Tony Rayns (quoted in Bey Logan's book) that he had deliberately chosen a ballet dancer for the lead female role, "... rather than fighting. I'm very interested in the Peking Opera and particularly its movement and action effects, although I think it's difficult to express them adequately on stage, where the physical limitations are too great." King Hu was said to recognise that some of the fights are stylised as opposed to realistic but claimed that combat in his movies was "always keyed to the notion of dance." This movie was a great success upon its release in Hong Kong and made a star of Cheng Pei Pei and others.
The original film was followed by a sequel, Golden Swallow again with Cheng Pei Pei but with Jimmy Wang Yu in the lead male role.