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The Magnificent Ruffians (1979)

Mai ming xiao zi (original title)
Yuan Ying Fei is the descendant of the one known as Golden Sword and himself is a master of the technique as well as being boss of the town. He is so a cruel man and has killed his sparring... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Feng Lu ...
Yuan Ying Fei the Golden Sword
Meng Lo ...
Guan Ah Yun
Chien Sun ...
Feng Jia Ji
Li Wang ...
Zeng Qiao
Sheng Chiang ...
He Fei
Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok ...
Yang Zhui Feng (as Philip Kwok)
On-Lai Liu ...
Miss Guan (as An-Li Liao)
...
Mrs. Guan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hung Chan
Lien-Ping Chang
Hui Chi Chen
Tien-Chu Chin
Kin Ping Chow
Kwok Wing Ha ...
(as Kuo-Yung Hsia)
Yu Lung Hsiao
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Storyline

Yuan Ying Fei is the descendant of the one known as Golden Sword and himself is a master of the technique as well as being boss of the town. He is so a cruel man and has killed his sparring partners with unnecessary blows, causing many martial artists to leave the town with only Guan Ah Yun remaining. Guan is the owner of Wu Wei security bureau which Yuan wishes to buy but cannot bully Guan out as he has an eye for his sister and Guan cannot fight back because any time he tries his sister and mother stop him. Yuan is stuck until he learns of 4 kung fu experts who are passing through the town by eating in restaurants and then taking it in terms to take a beating due to not being able to pay. Yuan tricks He Fei,Yang Zhui Feng, Zeng Qiao and Feng Jia Ji into being his friends and then tricks them into believing that Guan is a cruel and unhelpful man. The four go to fight Guan, but do so away from his mother and sister - but the fights produce mutual respect and friendship between ... Written by bob the moo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama

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Release Date:

October 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Magnificent Ruffians  »

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2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Uneven tone leading into final third but mostly it is entertaining, funny and ends with some quite brilliant fight sequences
3 January 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Yuan Ying Fei is the descendant of the one known as Golden Sword and himself is a master of the technique as well as being boss of the town. He is so a cruel man and has killed his sparring partners with unnecessary blows, causing many martial artists to leave the town with only Guan Ah Yun remaining. Guan is the owner of Wu Wei security bureau which Yuan wishes to buy but cannot bully Guan out as he has an eye for his sister and Guan cannot fight back because any time he tries his sister and mother stop him. Yuan is stuck until he learns of 4 kung fu experts who are passing through the town by eating in restaurants and then taking it in terms to take a beating due to not being able to pay. Yuan tricks He Fei,Yang Zhui Feng, Zeng Qiao and Feng Jia Ji into being his friends and then tricks them into believing that Guan is a cruel and unhelpful man. The four go to fight Guan, but do so away from his mother and sister – but the fights produce mutual respect and friendship between sparring which leads Yuan to more deadly deception.

Starting with the great title (Magnificent Ruffians!) this is a film with a lot of confidence and for good reason as it is consistently entertaining and exciting. The film sees our four main characters chancing their way through life due to the collapse of the contracted bodyguard business. This section sees the fun and rough and tumble suggested by the title and it is a lot of fun with some genuinely funny moments and dialogue. This continues for the majority of the film and then, almost too suddenly, the tone changes dramatically due to a couple of plot devices which in my opinion are darker than they needed to be – but in many ways are just part of this genre. Although it feels like a misstep these things do set up a really strong final third, with lots of action.

Speaking of the action, it is rarely less than great. The sparring between the five friends is fun but the real high of the film is the action involving Golden Sword Yuan. He uses what is essentially a pole with a sword on the end of it and it is brutal and he moves with it so impressively well – Lu Feng plays him as a cruel villain and has the skills to back it up. His fight with Kwok and Chiang Sheng is particularly brilliant with all three moving so perfectly in time with each other while appearing to hold nothing back – there were a few moves I had to play back just to be sure I had really seen what had happened. Although this is the high point, all of the cast are strong in the action but also in the characters, with Lo Meng being likable, while Wang Li, Sun Chein, Chiang and Kwok all having good chemistry and with good comic delivery that plays just right for the camera (not exaggerated – Tigress of Shaolin, I'm looking at you).

Visually the film looks good and the sets are good enough to make up for the lack of external locations. Some of the incidental music is a bit odd at times and it does appear to have "borrowed" from Rocky and, more obviously, the theme from Taxi Driver (although it uses the latter really well). It does suffer a little from a really abrupt gear change and some plot devices that really clash with the entertainingly comedic tone of the first hour, but aside from this the film works very well with laughs, good chemistry and some really impressive and well choreographed fight sequences.


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