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Magnificent Bodyguards More at IMDbPro »Fei du juan yun shan (original title)

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

On the eastern frontier.

Author: lost-in-limbo from the Mad Hatter's tea party.
24 April 2010

Odd, but fascinating and likable early Jackie Chan martial arts vehicle. Well I might just be stretching calling it a vehicle though he's the name seller (outside director Lo Wei), but at times Chan (who plays it cocky, but can back it up) was overshadowed by his co-stars (James Tien and Bruce Liang). Nonetheless the thing that does stand out and this is probably why he doesn't charismatically standout (well not from the crisply choreographed action sequences though) was that the comical elements are played down with a more straight-laced vibe winning out. Lord Ting Chung the fastest fists in the East (Chan) is hired along with some other partners to protect a women and her ill-brother while transporting them through the Stormy Mountains that's infested with robbers. The story might seem basic, but it's anything but. It's quite an eventful plot, which does become somewhat of a mess with its dramatic twists and silly turns. Therefore its busily conceived structure consisting of a variety of characters, situations and challenges lets the pace briskly move through moving from one set-piece to another. Quick, lively and fun sums it up. What more could you ask for. The fluidly diverse martial arts come in spades with flexibility, creativity and exuberance in its flashy and flighty execution of one-on-one or group ambushes. Namely the stirringly long-winded climax, which would come back down to earth with a thud with its abrupt ending (which filled many films of its genre). A novelty that comes to the foreground is that it was obviously made for 3D with its intrusive framing and tricky jolts. I was kind of surprised how much of those occurrences did pop up and another interesting note would be the use of the "Star Wars" theme score for one particular scene. It might not be held up alongside Chan's other efforts, but this raw venture is a neat little kung-fu showcase.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

One of Jackie's more interesting movies

Author: Aidy from United Kingdom
8 June 2000

This movie was made during the pre-humour stage of Jackie Chan's career, and is one of the relatively few serious movies that Jackie did. I like his humorous films as well but I find they can slow down the pace a little. Not so with this movie as it's action from start to finish.

This is one of the more interesting Jackie Chan movie that I've seen. Jackie plays a bodyguard who is hired to accompany a woman through a dangerous stretch of countryside. Jackie is hired yet agrees to do the job for free...this is just the start of a complicated story line.

Unlike his more humorous movies this movie is out-and-out action from the very start. The fighting scenes are good and frequent. The story line has a few twists and isn't just the standard `I will revenge my father/brother' plot. Interesting things to note are the 3D effects, at one point they enter a monastery that has swastikas on the wall, then when the team are trying to pass through a valley they start to play the Star Wars theme!!!

Overall this is quite different from most Jackie movies in that the story line is rich, the action is frequent, and the twists rival Fight Club.

Not the best movie he's ever done, but well worth a look.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Not A Bad Film

Author: Vic Smith from London, England
19 March 1999

This is a typically bizarre early Chan film, made by Lo Wei. It concerns Chan escorting a woman across a dangerous valley to find a cure for her sick "brother". Although not a classic, this film does contain a number of impressive fight scenes,although the script is messy and often confusing. Still,it's nice to see Chan in his long-haired seventies days!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One of Chan's Weaker Vehicles From this Period

Author: ProgressiveHead from Australia
8 April 2010

This was one of many Jackie Chan vehicles made around this time when he was not yet a huge star. He had just made "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow", and "Snake and Crane Arts of Shaolin". The mega-hit "Drunken Master" would follow. Unfortunately this doesn't compare well to those.

Chan is asked by a young, wealthy lady to take her sick brother to a specialist doctor. To reach him, Chan and a handful of traveling companions must pass through bandit-infested wild country. They encounter and kung-fu-fight several gangs of thugs along the way.

Some minor interest is maintained as there's a quest involved, and the group journey through some nice locations. Also, the musical score has a surprising range of dynamics.

On the downside, the version I saw was poorly dubbed and the script had a lot of problems.

None of the many fight-scenes reach the heights of "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow", "Snake and Crane Arts of Shaolin" or "Drunken Master" (Jackie Chan vehicles made immediately before and after Magnificent Bodyguards).

Also, there is a twist near the end which I felt was a cop out and undermined the nature of the film, but by that point I wasn't too bothered anyway.

I would recommend this to die-hard Jackie Chan fans only. The casual fan would do well to stick with his 80s and 90s output (with a few exceptions).

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Fast, furious and fanciful

Author: Mick Pope from Sydney, Australia
1 December 1998

This has to be one of my favorite Jackie Chan films for the fast action. The plot is at first fairly mundane, just an excuse for a team up with Jackie and some other improbable characters, including that played by James Tien - beware or he'll skin you alive! Although this is one of Jackie's earlier and more serious films - there is plenty to keep you laughing, including the improbable plot development later on. The villains are weird and wonderful and the fight scenes typical of Chan in this era. Things to look out for include the occasional 'borrowed' piece of music from Star Wars. All in all, if you are willing to suspend your disbelief (what's new), then the slightly ham acting won't get in the way of some good action.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

We have ways of making you kung-fu!

Author: vierlix
10 July 2005

That this is a "serious" Jackie Chan movie does not at all stop it being hilarious. The plot has several twists (so many I have no idea what the movie was supposed to be about) and they all exist for one reason: more fight scenes! our movie needs more fight scenes!! it does not matter who is in the scene, invent a reason for them to fight!!

Toss in some seriously bad foley, a "deaf" character who can obviously hear, a little... familiar... incidental music, and some monks whose ultimate technique is to make a moderately loud noise, and it's really no wonder that the subtitling is so shoddily done.

The "Stormy Mountain" theme song is a real gem. Make up your own verses and sing along!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Cool Movie!

Author: mars-14 from Trinidad
5 September 2004

Cool movie! Features a long-haired 24-year old Jackie Chan, great costumes, an improbably complicated plot, a bizarre song in the middle, American-Indian Mongol hordes, pre-Matrix "bullet time" fx, and much more.

Basically, Jackie and cohorts - the magnificent bodyguards of the title - are hired to guard and transport a valuable cargo over some dangerous, bandit-infested mountains. Of course, nothing is what it seems, no-one can be trusted and there appears to be a lost tribe of American Indians wandering the hills.

The version I saw was subtitled - it was fun hearing the original Chinese. Maybe that let the humour come out more. The movie doesn't take itself too seriously and only gets serious at the very end.

Well worth a watch.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:


Author: Sal Murakami from Japan
22 February 1999

This film has never shown in Japanese movie theatre although Jackie was superstar for more than two decades. You will enjoy this if you don't sleep.(It's not easy!) I thought it was something like a mixture of the old Japanese Samurai story and the Western Cowboy film. You will see so many naked indians although it's story is in China - they look so stupid like Monty Pythons' comedy. And you will see the guy with 6 fingers on his hand.You will hear some Star Wars soundtracks.Kung-Fu actions with 3D camera tricks are so shabby, maybe one of the worst ones in Jackie's all films ever made. But you gonna like this garbage if you like 70's cheap and crazy Kung-Fu films.I like this one because this is definitely one of the most stupid films I've ever seen. Even more stupid than Austion Powers!!!!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Decent ensemble film with satisfying fight scenes

Author: InjunNose from Alabama
6 November 2016

It is a pervasive feature of the written history of Chinese martial arts films (from CFW's long-extinct periodical "Martial Arts Movies" to the pioneering coffee table book "Martial Arts Movies: From Bruce Lee to the Ninjas" by Ric Meyers) that Jackie Chan languished in a series of both artistically and commercially disastrous films before attaining stardom in 1978 with "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow". The general idea is that Chan was being held back by his director/mentor Lo Wei, who was such a humorless square that he saw no merit in Chan's comedic aspirations and insisted on trying to sell the young actor as the new Bruce Lee in a series of straight dramatic roles. This contention has been repeated so often that even today it is uncritically accepted as fact. Well, guess what? It's a bunch of baloney. In the first place, Chan starred in only one Bruceploitation film: "New Fist of Fury". Thereafter, he was cast in period costume productions (in contrast to Lee, who never made a period film). Secondly, some of these movies--like "Snake and Crane Arts of Shaolin" and "Spiritual Kung-Fu"--featured comedic elements. Thirdly, Chan almost always did a respectable job when assigned a dramatic role. Finally, while there's no doubt that comedy kung-fu made him a star, it's debatable how good films like "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow" and "Drunken Master" really are. They were wildly popular, certainly, but unless you consider slapstick the highest art ever achieved by human civilization, they're pretty cringeworthy. "Magnificent Bodyguards", neither a deadly serious dramatic picture nor a screwball comedy, stars Chan alongside James Tien and Leung Siu-lung (Bruce Leung); they are martial arts experts who have been hired to escort a sick man on his journey to see a physician. Along the way they fight off bandits, hostile Buddhist monks and an assortment of other characters. Based on a tale by Taiwanese wuxia novelist Ku Lung, the film is not a classic by any means, but it's watchable. There are lengthy, entertaining fight scenes and Chan does just fine in his non-comedic role. (Bizarrely, the movie was shot in 3D, which is why there are so many kicks and jabbing weapons aimed directly at the camera.) Further putting the kibosh on the myth that Chan's early films were all unmitigated disasters, "Magnificent Bodyguards" was a success at the box office. Don't believe everything you read!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

No Jackie classic, but watchable enough for a low budget chop socky effort

Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
20 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

MAGNIFICENT BODYGUARDS, released in 1978, is one of the handful of films that Jackie made during his 'Lo Wei' period, a series of low budget films either produced or directed by Wei in the mid-to-late '70s that are often seen as having interchangeable plots and less than impressive direction. The good news is that the martial arts choreography was co-handled by Jackie in this film, so at least we're in for some quality fighting.

Things open in the thick of action as we witness a long-haired Jackie fighting off a gang of pole-wielding warriors. It turns out that this is his way of applying for a job! Jackie is Ting Chung, dubbed "the world's fastest boxer", and he's quickly employed by the mysterious Lady Nan to act as a bodyguard for herself and her sick brother (who is confined to a sedan chair) as they cross through the bandit-ridden Stormy Mountains to reach a distant city. Jackie picks some hired help from the townsfolk and also chooses an additional bodyguard for the expedition, a deaf tanner played by the film's second kung fu star, Bruce Liang.

The rest of the film chronicles the adventures of the party as it set offs through the Stormy Mountains. First stop is a ghost town inhabited by a strange old woman and two rival fighters – the God of Darts and Tsang, whose catchphrase is "I'll skin you alive!". In Tsang we have the film's third and final kung fu star, James Tien, and he quickly joins Lady Nan's party on its journey through the mountains. Soon the travellers are fighting with the various bandit chiefs in the vicinity, including the Scholar – a man who dresses in pink, wields a fan as a weapon and has a small box on his head (?), Lady Liu, the Old Wolf and the Fake Monk.

There's an engaging interlude as the three bodyguards seek refuge inside a booby-trapped Shaolin Temple only to be attacked by bloodthirsty monks, deafening bells, and poison gas, and a little respite at the Peace Hotel. Finally the party is ambushed by every bandit in the region and trapped in a valley. Jackie sneaks out to find help, but is double-crossed and taken to the palace of the mountain ruler, Lord Chu. Once there, the others join him, there's a twist as the identity of Lady Nan's "brother" is revealed, and all hell breaks loose in a final massacre as Jackie and his buddies fight for survival.

The one unique thing about this particular film is that it was made in 3D, a process by which objects were seen to 'pop' out of the screen when viewing a special print with supplied glasses at the cinema. Two of the 'biggest' 3D films of the era were JAWS 3D and Friday the 13th Part III, but MAGNIFICENT BODYGUARDS came first, approximately five years before. Essentially, the viewer will notice that many different things seem to jut out at the screen as they watch the film. These include poles flying out of the screen, swords slashing towards the viewer, pots flying toward the camera, and even freeze-frame shots of snakes at one point. Of course there are also plenty of fists and feet hurled toward the viewer and, in my favourite effect, polystyrene rocks smash down into the camera – the most effective 3D moment in the whole film!

One of the notable things about MAGNIFICENT BODYGUARDS is that Jackie shares the limelight with two other action stars of the period. Bruce Liang was a popular Bruce Lee impersonator who appeared in many rip-offs and he proves to be pretty nimble in his fight scenes, using lots of strong leg work. Meanwhile, James Tien was always something of an under-appreciated actor – probably because he was a lot older than the co-stars in his films – but he does very well here as a tough, sword-wielding warrior. It goes without saying that Jackie shines in the various action scenes and the focus is on his hand-to-hand combat throughout.

The film has a general feeling of weirdness to it that is not helped by the inclusion of some music from STAR WARS – some Chinese films were notorious for their disregard of international copyright laws. A jolly song pops up as the heroes trek through the mountains and is quite amusing. However, the almost complete lack of humour sets it apart from Jackie's funny later movies and some elements of the story border on the fantastical (I'm thinking of the six-fingered man and the Red Indians). There's also an extremely gruesome moment late in the film in which Jackie tears off a female opponent's face, an effect that comes as a total shock and seems very out of place considering the film's genial tone elsewhere. Still, the final, lengthy three-on-one fight scene is very well staged and helps the viewer to overlook this misjudged gore effect.

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