Jean and Kelly are still in Michigan, woe is me. They return Friday, and so, in what is probably my last act of bachelor defiance, I joined my friend Burr after work for pizza and movies. He is also bereft of his wife for this week, so we had his place to ourselves. We watched Come Drink With Me, my second King Hu movie experience, and One Night In Mongkok, which I'll post about separately.
Come Drink With Me stars Cheng Pei Pei as the daughter of a provincial governor. Blood will tell, and she is gifted with the almost magical martial arts powers that only manifest in these movies. She has been sent by the governor to rescue her brother, another official, who has been captured by bandits as a hostage. They want their leader freed, but Cheng Pei Pei has no plans to comply.
Throughout this movie, I was silently comparing it to A Touch of Zen, the only other King Hu movie I've seen. Overall, ATOZ is a better film. The story has more depth, and the atmosphere seems more genuine. Frequently I found myself criticizing the movie for all the conventions it displayed. Then I realized that many of these conventions originated with King Hu, and probably in this very movie. The teahouse ambush for instance, is a classic of wu xia movies, but here it is possibly realized in film for the first time. It is a charming scene.
So while I'd say that CDWM is the lesser of the two movies by King Hu I've seen, it is still better than many other wu xia movies I've sat through, and was definitely worth my time.