When you think of kung-fu movies and the Shaw Brothers films, most people don’t have a badass femme fatale come to mind. On the plus side, if you have never seen this Shaw Brothers movie, add it to your must-see list.
Let’s talk about a ferocious kung-fu fighting queen, Golden Swallow from one of Shaw Brothers top-rated films, Come Drink With Me.
Cult Classic Movies – The Shaw Brothers – Cheng Pei-Pei – Come Drink with Me – Badass Kung-Fu Queen
Come Drink With Me is a 1966 Hong Kong Wuxia film produced by Run Run Shaw and directed by King Hu. One of the main characters, Golden Swallow (a name that would be used for the 1968 sequel) is played by actress Cheng Pei-Pei.
The 60s wasn’t exactly a period where women were represented as ass-kicking warriors. Fortunately, being introduced to strong female leads has had a lasting influence on my personality. Aside from the lead actress, one of the reasons I love and recommend this movie is the plot, the story-line.
If you haven’t seen this film, be prepared for some spoilers. Golden Swallow is assigned to save the governor’s son, who was kidnapped and beaten by bandits. The bandits motive – they want their leader back. To their chagrin, negotiations were off the table and the bandits only grew more daring.
Luckily, Golden Swallow’s motivation was more than just another search and rescue mission. The governor’s son was also her brother. This is where the story got me intrigued. What sister couldn’t relate to wanting to save a family member?
Her skills were beyond compare for women of the day. Not only was she the governors’ daughter, but she was also a master of disguise and a skilled kung-fu fighter. Being able to travel without suspicion and gain access to most places without question was one of her many talents. A definite skill set that comes in handy down the road.
As always, the woman sets off on her mission only to be underestimated by the bad guys. Golden Swallow has her work cut out for her. Smiling Tiger Tsu Kan, portrayed by Lee Wan-Chung, meets her first and attempts to overpower her with numbers. He sicks his boys on her, only to have them easily beaten back with not so much as a drop of sweat from her brow.
One of my favorite laugh out loud scenes is when old-man Smiling Tiger witnesses her dodge darts, daggers, and beat up sword-wielding guys with ease. This scene showcases Golden Swallow’s weapons expertise, from throwing coins with precision to wielding swords and double-edged knives. Even after watching her disarm, beat, and defeat all his men, he thinks, “instead of cooperation, I’ll face her myself.” Yeah, he really didn’t get anywhere with that reasoning.
The next villain she has to deal with is a sociopath, Jade Face Tiger, played by actor Chan Hung-Lit. I was impressed and sold on his psycho act – the shark smile, always wide, always up to something.
Sadly, he was too much crazy for her and Golden Swallow, the ferocious fighter that she was, could not defeat him on her own.
A Drunken Master
She meets a master of kung-fu, the Drunken Knight also referred to as the Drunken Cat. Portrayed by actor Yueh Hua, the drunken co-hero is an entertainer of sorts, a beggar who helps orphaned and poor children earn their daily bread through song and dance. She hoped to get on his good side and learn a thing or two. Being the drunk that he is, he acts a fool and refuses to teach/help her. This doesn’t deter her from continuing the mission, even when it’s against all odds, like fighting off the poison.
Of course, the Drunken Cat has a heart and eventually helps her. After all, like with most martial arts films, the main characters’ paths are interconnected. Little did she know, he had secretly prevented her from being ambushed in the night. He was also the one that nursed her back to health after she had been mortally poisoned.
Where her main villain is Jade Face Tiger, is an old friend, a monk played by Hao Li-Jen. The monks’ motivations were criminal, as he had direct connections to the group of bandits. Jealous of the Drunken Master and ambitious for more power, he attempts to jump into the fray and face his old friend in a battle.
This part of the film has one of my favorite lines,
“Better an honest beggar than a crooked devil in monks clothing.” Great words to live by according to the Drunker Cat. I’ve got to agree.
There’s a history between the Monk and Drunken Cat, but you will have to check the movie out to learn more about it. It’s truly a film that has earned all its’ accolades, making it a highly-recommended cult classic fan favorite.
Now that they’ve teamed up, Golden Swallow’s kickassery is raised to a whole new level. You have to ask yourself if you were severely poisoned, would you still want to fight? This is where determination and stubbornness go hand in hand. Even when ill she was willing to stand up and keep going.
These are the kind of determined martial artists that are dangerous. I mean, can you imagine, beating people away while trying to stay conscious? Just when they think you’ve passed out, BOOM, you’re back. After recovering from the poison, she comes back stronger than ever and is able to lead a glorious band of warrior women.
Golden Swallow had to face hand to hand combat along with knives, swords, daggers, throwing stars, and other jagged weapons. No matter how serious the bloody run-throughs, stabbings, and lacerations were, there was always an air of humor behind it all. Especially the scenes where the Drunken Master and Golden Swallow had to interact.
These are the many reasons why Come Drink With Me’s Golden Swallow is at the top of my list for one of the most ferocious kung-fu fighting queens to come out of Hong Kong Wuxia Films and Shaw Brothers Production.
Originally posted 2019-08-30 16:55:10. Republished by Blog Post Promoter