A few episodes of The Ancient Magus’ Bride later and I think I’ve cleared my juju of family massacre movies. So I went for the wuxia classic Come Drink With Me with the hope that I will have dreams of flying swords instead of being buried alive. Hope springs eternal.
It’s been an awfully long time since I last watched a martial arts movie period, let alone for the 1001 list. Looking back on my posts it’s likely that A Chinese Ghost Story, which I watched 18 months ago, would be the last one. It isn’t because of a distinct lack of martial arts films, more that it’s never a genre that comes to mind when picking a film to watch. Also – if I’m being honest – I thought Come Drink With Me sounded more like a W.C. Fields comedy from the 1930s (like The Fatal Glass of Beer) rather than an important part of the martial arts cinema canon.
Why is Come Drink With Me important? Well, this brought a big innovation to the genre: a kick-ass female lead. Crazy to think that this would be a new idea considering the strong central female characters in films like Peking Opera Blues and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but I guess there had to be a watershed moment like this one.
Being over 50 years old it is clear that there have been a lot of developments in the wuxia genre since Come Drink With Me was released. Improved editing techniques, greater scope of stunt-work and sturdier sets. Still, a lot of these issues is where the charm lies and this film has charm to spare. Just a pity that the story felt like it started to trail off at the end, which meant that I started to lose interest… as so often happens with these films.