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Introduction

Drunken Master is a martial arts movie that premiered in 1978. This action parked film was directed by Yuen Woo-ping, and it features popular Chinese actors such as Yuen Siu-tien, Hwang Jang Lee and Jackie Chan as the protagonist. The movie starts when a young mischievous man named Wong Fei Hong is forced to flee his home and seek refuge after his father tries to punish him by getting him to practice martial arts under a brutal master. However, Wong Fei Hong ends up brutalized on the streets and meets the Drunken Master, who saves him and then trains him. Finding this training too rigorous, the young man tries to escape again. To his surprise, Wong Fei Hong runs into trouble again and is forced to return to his master for more training. After a while, Wong Fei Hong has to rescue his father from an assassination attempt by a rival landowner. In this analysis, the current paper examines issues of family with a bias on kinship bonds as depicted in the movie Drunken Master.

Father and Son

The film Drunken Master opens to a conflict between a father and a son. Wong Fei Hung is also known as the Naughty Panther, and he spends most of his time making practical jokes on those around him. This gets him into a lot of trouble and earns him a bad reputation in the society. The young man is however having a lot of fun and is simply enjoying his life. Unfortunately, this is not what he is meant to be doing, according to the Chinese traditions at the time. It was his time to start learning martial arts and probably gain some discipline and restraint while he was at it.

For his father, Wong Fei Hong was a disgrace with his numerous excessive in terms of bad jokes and he had to help him to define a direction for his life. This can mean that the father felt responsible for the son and was trying to help him to become a better person. While he recognizes that his son is having a good time and is just being young and reckless, Wong’s father feels like he has to intervene in order to secure his son’s future. He is a wealthy man with the means to live a good life but he needs his son to be groomed well too. And while sending the young man to Beggar So seems like a punishment due to Beggar So’s reputation of crippling his students with the rigorous training, it is actually a gesture of faith and hope. The older man is hoping that the discipline will be able to make his son a better man. And in most ways, he is right.

However, from the son’s perspective, the father did not like him very much. He felt that being sent to his uncle was actually an attempt to punish him and get him to straighten up and be a responsible man. And in some ways, he was right except that it was not a punishment. Rather, his father was doing him a favor. However, the young man is not ready to see this and he resents his father for sending him away. However, towards the end of the movie this opinion seems to have passed as he goes to visit his father and ends up rescuing him from an assassin. From this chain of events, it becomes clear that the kinship bond between Wong Fei Hong and his father is too strong and is, thus, able to withstand such turbulence and still prevail. And while it took some persuading and molding by Beggar So, Wong is still the loving son of a loving father and their love for each other dictates the ending of the movie.

Father and Uncle

The one interesting thing about the Chinese society is how distant siblings or cousins can be. It is not clear whether Beggar So is actually a brother or a cousin to Wong’s father. Either way the two seem to have an understanding that goes beyond the naked eye. Wong’s father is a wealthy man within the film’s contexts. He is a landowner, with rivals and connections. Beggar So on the other hand is a drunken martial arts coach who has earned his bad reputation due to his excessive enthusiasm when training students. Under ordinary circumstances, one would not expect a wealthy landowner to hire the services of a drunken and rather brutal trainer for his son. However, in this case there seems to be some blind trust. Despite the possibility that Wong would be broken by Beggar So’s fighting styles, Wong’s father is actually willing to commit him to Beggar So in order to make him a better person and teach him how to fight well. This kind of trust is what underpins the relationship between Beggar So and Wong’s dad, highlighting it as a very strong kinship that has however not been well defined in the movie.

Son and Uncle

Beggar So has a bad reputation of crippling his students. He makes them train very hard and this often has bad effects of their bodies. Wong Fei Hong knows this, and he is not about to let himself be another victim of his uncle’s excesses. This explains his first attempt to run away. He had beat up the son of an influential man and this made his father furious. To him, the training with Beggar So is nothing but a punishment and he hopes that his father would soon stop being angry and thus not punish him. However, the young man ends up training with Beggar So out of a need to learn how to fight. This enables him to develop a relationship with his uncle. However, after some time it becomes clear that his uncle is not going to go easy on him. The young man’s escape implies a difficult relationship with Beggar So. However, this can be justified in the context of not liking hard work. It even becomes more apparent when Wong has to go back to Beggar So voluntarily to learn more about Drunk fighting. The bond here can be seen developing based on convenience. Wong Fei Hong is willing to run away and live off the streets in order to avoid his uncle but when he realizes that he actually needs to know how to fight, he opts to stay and get to know Beggar So. Beggar So on the other hand actually does love his nephew and he makes a lot of effort in giving the young man a chance to redeem himself and generally become a better person as his father desired. Distant kin in Chinese history actually include uncles, most of who are usually only known by reputation. With the right opportunity however, the uncle can be of such great influence in one’s life, as Beggar So was in Wong’s.

Conclusion

Drunken Master is a considerable Chinese classic that takes the viewers through the experiences of a young man who strains his relationship with his father due to his naughty nature. The movie gets to showcase how a father’s love for his son sometimes includes some level of sacrifice and selfless consideration, and how with the right motivations, a son would actually do anything to save his father. The relationship between Wong and his father is really impressive, given that it is able to survive many trials including Wong’s attempts to run away. As for Beggar SO, he may not be Wong’s father but it is clear that his concern for the young man is genuine and runs deep. Generally, the Chinese are great people and historically, their family ties usually bind.

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