Saturday, March 28, 2009
Day Sixty-Nine: Dance of the Drunk Mantis (1979) - Rank 3/5
Kung-fu flicks is one of the great genres of film that is primarily comprised of guilty pleasures. Sure, some might have elaborate plots, but most, such as "Dance of the Drunken Mantis" have storylines that only serve as a basic (and sometimes weak) excuse to introduce ample fighting/action sequences into the film And why not? That's the primary reason you're watching the bloody thing. You want action, not story structure (the same logic seen in porno scripts). Thankfully the film, like so many of the ilk, provides plenty of just that.
Starring in the film are Hwang Jang Lee (a taekwondo expert who often worked alongside Bruce Lee or a young Jackie Chan) and Simon Yuen, who reprises his role from the recently completed "Drunken Boxer." Yuen is a master of Drunken Mantis (an amalgamation of fighting styles) and must defend his title from Lee's "Rubber Legs." 'Nuff said. Many of the fighting scenes are choreographed in a near-slapstick manner, adding great comedic touches to the action. While comedic kung-fu would become prevalent in cinema much later (Stephen Chan's works have certainly introduced it to American audiences), this seems like one of the earliest experiments in the blending of the two concepts, making it an entertaining watch for more than just awesome fighting.
Watch the Trailer