# 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.

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 Butcher (1979, Yuen Woo-Ping


When the elite and certainly physical elite is involved, kung fu comedy breaks through with an astounding effect. As demonstrated by Yuen Woo-Ping on a hot streak with Jackie Chan that now changes to Sammo Hung as Lam Sai-Wing (a disciple of Wong Fei-Hung, a role reprised here by Kwan Tak-Hing). Tone and feel to other comedies of its kind may feel similar and banana peel gags, urine humour and banter could be viewed as jokes on the lower end of the scale. But a dedicated Sammo Hung and extremely impressive physicality and action takes over in general. So there's no reliance on comedy but rather focus on effort. Ranging from Kwan Tak-Hing's incredible opening demonstration of his agility, the calligraphy fight (performed admirably by the actor with clever doubling) versus Fung Hak-On and Lee Hoi-San demonstrating the palm of five elements early. Just the start of flawless action choreography, the highlight remains the astonishing pair of simultaneous fights involving Yuen Biao, Lam Ching Ying, Wei Pai and Yuen Miu. By this point, Yuen Woo-Ping and Sammo's action merge to beautiful effect with its mix of fair brutality and intricacy. And while there's no complaints to be made when Sammo Hung squares off against Lee Hoi-San for the finale, the best fight has already occurred. Fan Mei-Sheng plays the drunken master character Simon Yuen made popular through working with his directing son shot some footage before he passed away. Nevertheless, the re-casting of Fan works, he shines in the playful role and the doubling, while more noticeable, remains well thought out.

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.

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