Written and directed by Kenneth Bi (Rice Rhapsody
), The Drummer
combines the unlikely themes of triads and zen drumming into a rousing, beat-filled journey of personal growth. Jaycee Chan (The Sun Also Rises
), who is fast emerging as the best young actor of his generation, stars as a rebellious youth whose life is changed by the steady beats of the zen drum. The film co-stars screen veteran Tony Leung Ka Fai and Golden Horse Best Actress Angelica Lee (Re-Cycle
), along with supporting players Josie Ho (Exiled
), Roy Cheung (Exiled
), and pop starlet Yumiko Cheng (Everlasting Regret
Rash and rebellious, Sid (Jaycee Chan) is forced to go into hiding when he's caught in bed with the girlfriend (Yumiko Cheng) of a mob boss (Kenneth Tsang). While his harried triad leader father (Tony Leung Ka Fai) tries to sort things out in Hong Kong, Sid gets exiled to Taiwan where he loafs around angrily making life difficult for henchman Chiu (Roy Cheung). An aspiring musician himself, Sid takes an interest in a group of traditional zen drummers, particularly the young and abrasive Hong Dou (Angelica Lee). Stubborn as ever, he joins the troupe at their back-to-the-basics mountain residence, clashing with their strict regiment of martial arts training and disciplined living. And yet step by step, beat by beat, Sid begins to change...
Jaycee Chan and Angelica Lee, who both underwent special training to rise to their drumming roles, give convincing performances onscreen, although the real percussion show belongs to the performers from Taiwan's U Theatre troupe who, like the roles they portray on screen, train vigorously in the mountains practicing zen drumming, meditation, and martial arts. Director Bi was actually inspired to make this film after he saw a U Theatre performance six years ago. He especially sought out the troupe to learn more about their art and way of living, thus beginning the big screen journey of this rare art and uncommon film.