Long before Katniss Everdeen and Beatrix Kiddo and Ellen Ripley, there was a bad ass female protagonist in the form of Golden Swallow, featured in the 1966 martial arts Shaw Brothers classic “Come Drink With Me.” With great cinematography and epic fight scenes, this is one of the best kung fu movies to come out of the 1960’s, and definitely set a high standard for decades to come.
“Come Drink With Me” starts with a kidnapping. The governor’s son gets kidnapped, specifically, and instead of giving in to the ransom demands, the governor sends his daughter Golden Swallow to get his son back, because why send your royal guards when you have an awesome warrior for a daughter, a daughter who has a reputation that precedes her; when she sits down to eat in a tavern filled with shady folk, they start to realize who she is, and they are split between trying to be tough and trying not to look scared of her, and once the fighting breaks out and she proves to be damn near unbeatable, we can see why all these bad guys would rather hide than try to take her on.
The most striking thing about this movie is how the camera moves throughout each scene, especially when capturing the fighting. As a matter of fact, one can see how this movie very likely influenced Quentin Tarantino in his movies, as the movements and settings look familiar to his work. And the fighting styles on display definitely influenced how such fighting appeared in movies made after this, as there is a gracefulness to all the movements that make for better movie fighting as opposed to real life fighting. This is because the director found not a martial arts master to play the lead role but a dancer, and they taught her some martial arts but relied on her dancing background in order to make her fight scenes that much more beautiful and ballet-like. And it works great because it is a pleasure to watch.
“Come Drink With Me” is an excellent movie, a technical achievement in old school martial arts movie making, and you can watch it here on the Netflix Instant.