Towards the end of the Qing dynasty (1644 – 1911) Su Can, a war hero, succeeds in dealing a heavy blow to the enemy forces. After this triumph he decides to leave the army and spend a peaceful life with his wife, who has recently given birth to their son. Six years later, his vengeful step-brother Yuang returns from the war. Yuang has succumbed to dark martial arts and has mastered the deadly ‘five venom fist’. Seeking revenge for an old family feud, he launches an attack on Su. Su and his wife only just manage to escape their assailants, but their young son is taken prisoner by the psychotic Yuang.
It takes months for Su to recover from his wounds and regain his old skills. He is aided by a mysterious bearded man and his assistant, Lord Wushu – a ‘golden monk’ and warrior who possesses extraordinary powers. But, in spite of their excellent training, Su is not able to save his wife’s life when she sets off alone to try to find their son. His grief over her death turns him into a broken man and, before long, the war hero is a drunken beggar, wandering aimlessly about the streets. Only when he hears that his son’s life is in danger once more – this time at the hands of Western imperialists – does Su regain his fighting spirit. Again and again he triumphs over his enemies – not least on account of his own, new, now legendary style of combat: ‘the drunken fist’.
Hong Kong, China / People's Republic of China / USA 2010, 111 min
Yuen Woo Ping
Focus Features International