# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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The Magic Sword (1993) Directed by: Ding Sin-Saai

Conveying scale and ambition with huge battle scenes and terrific costume design, Taiwan veteran Ding Sin-Saai's next to last movie doesn't score as much in the drama- and emotions-department as it wants. Don Wong (who is having tons of fun) as the tyrant Kwan is waiting for a sword to be created by one of the great sword makers (played by Tok Chung-Wa in a rather anonymous role coming from an otherwise fine actor). Kwan himself is apparently having sexual problems, bathes in snake blood at one point and throws a child into a furnace... this is indeed cinematic outrageousness to be remembered but the film aims for more. Mostly grounded action-wise until the supernatural twist at the end, here's even more ambition as we get crude but surprisingly epic computer effects (of an animated peacock and dragon). Doesn't tug at any heartstrings but engages a gear needed for a bit of fun to shine through.

Magic Warriors (1989) Directed by: Chong Yan-Gin & Lee Tso-Nam

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Why be slow when you can cheaply and frenetically run through your colourful creativity? Sounds deep and scholar-like but still applies to the wild, Taiwan time offered up by Chong Yan-Gin (Revanchist) and Lee Tso-Nam (Shaolin Vs Lama). Dubbed as a second sequel to The Child Of Peach (the other being Magic Of Stell), in fact the only link is female lead Lam Siu-Lau playing another male hero. This time it's Little Flying Dragon and not Peach Boy, who has to protect Golden Boy from the forces of hell. In a story making little sense, nor should it in some odd, logical way, the often infectious blend of animated special effects, wire assisted feats and low-brow comedy (see Lam Siu-Lau turn into a gorilla and Golden Boy offering up piss tea) seems a little downshifted compared to Magic Of Stell but nevertheless is hokey fun. Almost an Wizard Of Oz-like character gallery pops up (including snail- and mushroom spirits), an acid pit turning humans into skeletons in an instant and a terrific finale that definitely sees the crew shift their gears up. Yes, Magic Warriors is a movie with quotable content to the max but despite beans spilled above, there's news around most corners it turns. Alexander Lo appears in dual roles.

The Magnificent (1979) Directed by: Chan Siu-Pang

In the early days of the Chinese republic, the leftovers of the diminishing Ching dynasty, led by General Huang (Chan Sing), are trying to stage a revolution. Fighting against them is leader Yao (Carter Wong) and along the way, people of good nature are going to stand together, despite belonging to the different camps in question...

From Joseph Lai and Tomas Tang comes a real movie? Yep, no insertions of bad gwailo actors or ninjas (that they did much later with The Magnificent), this is way early where the duo stood together and produced movies in the old school vein instead. The Magnificent is aided by a wise combo to have its serious plot basically be the framework for a pretty constant assault of kung-fu. No extensive talking or filmmaking thinking it's better than it is, because of it director Chan Siu-Pang comes off as an actual genre filmmaker. Especially so when the basic but intriguing ideas of a Ching Dynasty princess (the kickass Doris Lung) siding with Carter Wong's Yao's are brought forth without feeling the need to put the narrative drive in a tub of glue. Betrayal, power struggles and training scenes featuring vital pressure point-mastering, you all know where that is heading... fast. Casanova Wong lights up the screen with kicking every single time he's called into action and while uneven, the rest of the choreography done by leads such as Carter Wong and Chen Sing excites to a decent degree. Well-rounded isn't a very common verdict to slap on an independent martial arts movie but The Magnificent deserves that and a pat on the back.

Magnificent Bodyguards (1978) Directed by: Lo Wei

Shot in 3D and partially fun because you never did see Jackie Chan in many swordplay movies, Lo Wei otherwise makes his presence felt as he delivers a deadly dull and uneventful Wuxia pian. Ku Long's script is straightforward enough with an escort mission and a kung-fu road movie feel being easy to attach to. But with very little creativity to spice up this high flying, fantastical universe (the traps-sequence involving Chan and a snake does stand out however) and instead an overabundance of talking (more of Lo Wei's tools of the trade), Magnificent Bodyguards falls flat early and never recovers. The 3D gimmick is present in spades with a lot of weaponry, kicks, fists and objects coming at us but not only is it annoyingly in our face, technically many shots are so sloppy that someone either should've caught it on the day or trimmed frames in editing. Mostly consisting of music cues from what sounds like a Western but primarily John Williams' score for Star Wars, it provides some awkward, aural fun and the finale at least brings the martial arts up a notch with some ferocious fighting. Co-starring James Tien and Bruce Leung.

The Magnificent Chivalry (1971) Directed by: Li Su

A standout in Wang Yu's extensive filmography within martial arts and swordplay, he is swordsman Li Biao who's asked to retrieve stolen money from the Black Tiger Gang. Infiltrating them and then finding out he's got lost family relations within the gang, stage is set for classic but basic drama. Meaning The Magnificent Chivalry prides itself on the simple and straightforward. There IS a story told that is not a feeble excuse for action and both aspects really do the genre proud in a way. With Wang Yu sporting different looks on a few occasions throughout, the capable brawler really merges with the swordplay hero here as the action is weapons based but basher like in nature. Add to all of that fast delivery of the choreography and a ferocious, primal nature to this main selling point, The Magnificent Chivalry does many things right even more technically able genre-cinema in the latter half of the decade failed at.

The Magnificent Scoundrels (1991) Directed by: Lee Lik-Chi

The box office money was pouring into almost all of Stephen Chow's movies at the time and even though The Magnificent Scoundrels merely had a 16 million Hong Kong dollar take, it's on par with most of the massive output of the time. Essentially a conman farce kept afloat by Chow's unpredictable, sometimes surreal comedy, he is teamed up with Teresa Mo as they try and clear a triad debt from Roy Cheung and Yuen Wah (who turns out to be a very incompetent henchman). Posing as a rich businessman, Wu Ma, Tien Niu and Amy Yip turn up to try and squeeze money out of said businessman. Let the complications begin...

Sometimes feeling subdued and hit and miss in the comedy department plus the chemistry between Chow and Teresa Mo isn't more than passable mostly but still, director Lee Lik-Chi (in one of many collaborations with Chow) brings to the screen several comedic highlights. Dealing with cartoon violence in the various beatings of Teresa Mo, the expected multiple jokes about Amy Yip's breasts (even Teresa Mo gets an operation to compete with her), puking, pissing and the Hong Kong people continually scamming each other just to get a taxi, much is very juvenile but also very infectious when taken to the extreme via Stephen's performance. Also with Karl Maka and Sandra Ng appears in a cameo.

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The Magnificent Trio (1966) Directed by: Chang Cheh

For a viewer such as myself who've really become a Chang Cheh admirer very late in the game, the biggest thrill of his 1960s work in particular has been the realization that they've survived, thematically. The Magnificent Trio, his third Shaw Brother's movie, may not stand as the most thoroughly executed due to some lagging pace and off-key handling of melodrama. It's still remarkably engaging and it doesn't need to rely solely on action either.

His swordplay drama is one about the corrupted powers within wealth and that it takes a view from the outside to make certain individuals realize what actually is justice in this world. By no means superbly layered throughout its entire character gallery, Chang still manage to push most of the correct buttons and while he may not have realized it, his themes were ones that still today packs a punch and could easily be applied to modern day as we know it.

Jimmy Wang Yu may have hit his stride as an actor under the direction of Chang Cheh in One-Armed Swordsman but he, along with Lo Lieh and Cheng Lei really do make picture perfect poster boys for righteousness. A favourite theme of Chang's as well as that of sworn loyalty between brothers, where strong love for women become secondary. That's not to say that Chang wasn't a romantic as there are sensitive patches of hopeful romance on display but the violent spiral of events leads to bloodshed that has to take place with the women out of the frame and frey. They do matter in this particular story though as they too ultimately are greatly affected by what goes on outside the sealed doors of wealth and Chang therefore reaches a balance of goals for both his heroes and the women around them.

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HK Flix.com

Magnificent Warriors (1987) Directed by: David Chung

Set during World War II, Michelle Yeoh plays Ming who along with her nifty fighting skills in her plane is sent to the Mongolian city of Kaal to bring back a Chinese agent (Derek Yee). Finding a town under occupation by the Japanese, along with the agent, a conman (Richard Ng) and Youda (Lowell Lo), the oppressed leader of the city, they fight back along with the people...

Shot beautifully in scope and showcasing its high budget to thrilling effect, David Chung heads an old time action adventure high on excitement the Hong Kong way BUT... taken back a little logically. Lighthearted without going Wong Jing-style overboard (Richard Ng is apt at keeping that balance in check) and containing only sparse moments of harsh violence, what therefore makes Magnificent Warriors such a standout is that no one forgot the bigger means also means Hong Kong cinema can showcase its true colours way better. Moving fast and often giving us bursts of fights and stunts that culminates in a huge battle with the Japanese forces, the balance is thoroughly admirable and enjoyable. Michelle Yeoh communicates a lot of that lighthearted nature of the film while still being the asskicking heroine, Yee is stoic but never veering away from the film's intentions but again, Richard Ng wonderfully anchors the movie on a comedic level as he attaches himself perfectly to the kind of gag-pace if you will that is needed. You don't create that afterwards, you do on the spot. Also with Hwang Jang-Lee, Matsui Tetsuya, Lo Meng, Chang Yi, Fung Hak-On (also one of the action directors) and Ku Feng.

Magnum Thunderbolt (1985) Directed by: Kenneth Kong

TROY'S REVIEW: Well, with Philip Ko in this, one thing is predictable right from the very start... yes, we get a rough sex scene! What the hell is it with IFD films featuring Ko indulging in heavy handed copulation? Answers on a postcard please. In the meantime, lets have a quick ganders at what else is on offer in this entry. The basic plot concerns hit man Ko arriving in Hong Kong after being hired to take out three targets. Matters are shown to be a little on the complex side however when we learn that Ko's brother is in fact a police officer. Unfortunately, the rest of the plot suddenly veers off on an utterly bewildering tangent which frankly defies description. Nonetheless you'll likely find yourself glued to the screen for the duration in morbid fascination at such off the wall sights as a bad guy (John Ladalski) torturing a poor woman on a beach with a combination of body paint and baby turtles, a transvestite assassin and a notable scene featuring vaginal drug smuggling. Would I recommend watching this? Why of course! (Might I also recommend some headache tablets to go with it though).

A Man From Holland was the basis for IFD's re-dub and therefore originally contains a lot of the above insanity.

Mahjong Dragon (1997) Directed by: David Lai, Jeff Lau & Corey Yuen

Regardless of all three directors actually deserve main credit, Mahjong Dragon is an interesting casting premise subsequently taken to uneven and uninteresting places spiced up with competent action from Yuen Tak. In her last movie role before retirement, Josephine Siao plays a policewoman with poor luck in gambling. Traveling to the Mainland to find a husband in order to break the spell, she gets hooked up with legendary gambler Quick Hands (Vincent Zhao) who needs a passport to get into Hong Kong. In return, Siao's character receives gambling tips but Quick Hands is a hunted man too. Primarily by Tin Lung (Ken Lo) who wants blood and the gambling throne...

Or something like that. It's fun to see such an unexpected pairing of leads and characters living such different lives but subsequent comedic shenanigans and character relationships leading to romance, newly found family etc doesn't translate well at all. It's tired, low budget Hong Kong cinema where Siao admirably adds valuable quirks and we get watchable action but the pieces that are supposed to fit within all this, rarely do. Blackie Ko in quite an obnoxious role unfortunately gets to represent a lot what is wrong with Mahjong Dragon. Sandra Ng, Ku Feng and Samuel Leung also appear.

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