Mean Drunken Master
aka Iron Bridge Kung-Fu aka Mang han dou lao qian
Directed by Wong Fung
Gam Fung-Ling starred in The Ape Girl and one other film, Mean Drunken Master/Iron Bridge Kung Fu. Hey, look, we’re doing a review of Mean Drunken Master/Iron Bridge Kung Fu! I bet you didn’t see that coming! Now I bet you are wondering who the mean drunken master is. I hate to disappoint you, but there is no mean drunken master. In fact, all we have is a drunken master who doesn’t even bother to be in the last half of the film. He’s more of an absent drunken master. The evil guy isn’t drunk, but he does have a ridiculous name, as do all his goons. He must have founded the Evil Ridiculous Names Gang, and then spent his youth terrorizing the people of Taiwan who had normal names.
Director Wong Fung directed many films (including How The Ape Girl Stole The Lotus Lamp and The Blonde Monster), but did you know that many of his films have the word “white” in the title? It’s true! I know you are as shocked as I. For the record: White-Haired Madam Su is Pregnant (1959), Stone Prince Takes the Throne (Final Part to White-Haired Madam Su) (1959), The White Lady’s Reincarnation (1959), The White-snake Girl (Part 1) (1960), The White-snake Girl (Part 2) (1960), White Hair Girl of Miu Shan (Part 1) (1961), White Hair Girl of Miu Shan (Part 2) (1961), and The White Dragon (1968). That’s 8/67 films with white in the title, an 11.9% rate! He also wrote 42 of the Wong Fei-Hung movies, and directed a fair share of them.
Gam Fung-Ling stars in this flick along with The Ape Girl/Lady Iron Monkey. These are her only two film roles known, which is sort of a shame because she’s pretty darn charismatic in both of the films. Whatever happened to Gam Fung-Ling? Your guess is as good as mine. Unless you actually know, in which case your guess is probably better than mine. Maybe. Who knows, one day I’ll be watching some random Taiwanese flick and suddenly Gam Fung-Ling will wander by and monkey kung fu the crap out of someone. That will be a good day (unless you’re the dude getting monkey kung fu-ed!)
Hey, look the movie was retitled! I guess the Iron Bridge Kung Fu is the second title, which is the version this print is taken from. The title screen clashes jarrishly with the traditional Chinese movie opening. But that’s par for the course in these budget DVDs of old kung fu films. Their are scenes of dudes walking in the forest, Chinese music is playing, and lots of shots of water and streams. The walking dudes walk to their destination. They’re carrying a dude on a chair who is addressed as Brother Dragon Head.
What an unfortunate name!
Brother Dragon Head has sunglasses and smokes, so you know he is a bad dude. He whips out a scroll with a drawing of Empress Tsi His’s jade watermelon. It’s the jade that looks like a watermelon! At least it isn’t as ridiculous as a purple jade badger, but it’s close. A foreigner wants to buy the jade watermelon, but it was stolen! They know the thief uses some sort of cane thing and something to do with iron bridge, a kung fu technique and thus the inspiration for the alternate title. I see the people who named the film watched a whole three minutes of it!
There is another gang member named Speed Horse, for those of you keeping track of the goofy names. The bad dudes offer a $100,000 reward for the jade watermelon.
Back at the martial arts school O Mei’s 12th Generation, Ho Yuen Biao runs the school along with his wife. Their best student is named Lung San, and the school also takes care of grown up orphan 13 Points, whose mother abandoned her at the school 8 years prior and now she is the cook. She’s also a klutz, and will be dropping eggs like the world around her is a Denny’s grill and I just ordered a Big Slam.
13 Points throws a duck butt out of the house so she can cook the rest of the duck. The duck butt hits Piggy, the homeless drunk who hangs outside the school. He’s played by Simon Yuen, patriarch of the Yuen clan and in more movies than you can kung fu a stick at. Piggy then switches the duck butt for the rest of the duck meat while 13 Points is singing silly songs. 13 Points then gets yelled at for serving the duck butt to the visiting mayor. I just like writing sentences about duck butt, but I also shudder at the thought of the Google Searches that will now be landing on this page.
Outside, she and Lung San spot Piggy, and they spend a very long time trying to pull the bench out from under him to wake him up (Piggy is pretending to be asleep) and when the bench is finally pulled out, Piggy stays in the air. He’s The Amazing Johnathan! 13 Points’s trick of putting urine in the wine bottle of Piggy’s backfires when he switches the wine for a new bottle at the local pub, the same pub 13 Points goes to buy a bottle of wine at for dinner – the same urine bottle! 13 Points also beats up a local rogue named Devil’s Shadow who was at the bar.
You can see how all this plot is going to come screaming together, right? No? Okay, let’s keep going…
Devil’s Shadow is meeting with the bartender Iron Comet (who has a bump on his head), and they are meeting with two other guys, Golden Eye Bear and Smokey Hawk. These four are called the Kung Dung Four Monsters. I don’t know who calls them that, but someone must. Do you think Golden Eye Bear is good at the James Bond Goldeneye Nintendo game? Because I think so. They discuss how Iron Bridge Monkey stole the jade watermelon! Iron Bridge Monkey is O Mei Section 10th Generation, which is two whole generations ago. They’re gonna get that jade watermelon back! But first Lung San and 13 Points arrive at the bar to beat everyone up, including Devil’s Shadow again. Golden Eye Bear steps in and demands to be taken to see Town Mayor Lee, No 1’s kung fu too strong for Lung San and 13 Points.
The baddies arrive at the O Mei’s 12th Generation school and just start beating up all the students as Golden Eye Bear and Yuen Biao just watch, until suddenly 5 Poisons Smoke is used (this is the martial arts technique where someone flies around and green smoke comes out and everyone gets beat by the smoke. You’ve probably heard of it because it’s fake and made up for this movie…I mean, real!)
The baddies accuse the mayor of stealing the jade watermelon and O Mai Section 12th Generation of being complicit in the theft. Are these guys cops? Nope, just jerks. There is more fighting, and No 1 begins to fight and he’s way too good even for Yuen Biao. The subtitlers forget to subtitle parts here, but no biggie. The baddies yank the mayor and leave, taking him before Brother Dragon Head. It’s time for torture! Brother Dragon Head is Dick Cheney??
Meanwhile, Lung San and 13 Points figure out Piggy is a kung fu master and become his students. Lung San learns tough kung fu that includes getting giant rocks put on top of him while he balances above some spikes. 13 Points is taught soft kung fu, because she’s a girl.
By now the baddies realize the mayor is not the thief and are searching the town. There is also an old lady named White Orchid running around (that we’ve already figured out is 13 Point’s mom) who is following Piggy. Piggy gives her the jade watermelon to hide and I guess he dies as he isn’t in the film anymore. Oops!
White Orchid teaches 13 Points some more kung fu styles, including standing on watermelons and monkey shape tai chi boxing. The famous monkey shape tai chi boxing has never been caught on film before! This is a second movie where she gets to act like a monkey! I really doubt she just did two flicks with big roles and vanished, unless she got pregnant or punched a randy producer or something. She must be in other stuff but no signs yet.
13 Points overhears the four main baddies, he baddies reveal as White Orchid is an enemy of Brother Dragon Head, then 13 Points interrupts them and they toss her over a waterfall! But she’s saved by White Orchid
find out that Brother Dragon Head used to be named Lee Double Eyes before a fight with Yuen Biao six years earlier where he lost and eye and that’s why he has sunglasses on. What kind of dumb nickname is “double eyes”? Hey, you got two eyes! Double Eyes!!
Then Brother Dragon Head kills Master Ho Yuen Biao with a whip! Partially because the stupid mayor gets in the way. Dumb mayors, ruining everything. Ho Yuen Biao’s body is dumped at the school, so Lung San arrives to kick all the bad guy’s butts. He must fight all the dudes there from goons to the named men to Brother Dragon Head. Luckily for him, White Orchid and 13 Points arrive to help. Perhaps he should have texted them ahead of time so they’d get there faster.
Fight fight fight fight fight. And guess what, Brother Dragon Head killed the husband of White Orchid.
The jade watermelon is at the battle because White Orchid brought it, it is exposed and soon it is getting tossed around with everything else. Eventually, Brother Dragon Head has his second eye punched out and is killed, then the mayor runs off with the jade watermelon until White Orchid throws a poisonous snake at him and he dies. The end. The fight at the compound isn’t even all the way finished yet and it’s the end!!!
See? Stupid mayors ruin everything! But who throws snakes at people?
Rated 8/10 (Check out my bangin’ poster!, that is so totally a jade watermelon, egg city, you got face on my duck butt!, the man with the magic headbump, check out my beard!, the vcd is of the highest quality, the gassiest bandit of them all!)