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|Index||15 reviews in total|
This has everything you want from a classic kung fu film - lots of superbly choreographed action, plenty of cheesy but fun humour, and even a reasonable plot, which actually gets quite nasty at times. The fighting really is the main reason to see it though, it really is something to behold. Plenty of somersaulting, using props, and crazy moves with ridiculous names, theres even a bit of weapon fighting too. The film never gets the coverage or respect it deserves unfortunately, but if you read this, I hope it will move you to watch it, love it, and tell all your friends. Trust me, if you're into old style kung-fu along similar lines to Drunken Master, you're in for a treat.
The best place to start signing the praises of this truly "magnificent"
film is to look at the names of all those involved with the movie. A
venerable who's who of Kun Fu movies past and present rounds out this
The film is directed by Yuen Woo Ping, who would later become the master of fight scenes in such movies as The Matrix, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Once Upon a Time in China series, Kung Fu Hustle, oh and he also directed some great films such as this film and The Buddhist Fist.
The film's screenplay is by Wong Jing, who's notorious for his hit or miss HK films. The Legend of Fong Sai-Yuk and Meltdown stand out in my mind as his best films, and from the humor shown throughout this movie it's obvious that Wong Jing had a hand in it, he is definitely "on" in this movie.
The Magnificent Butcher stars Sammo Hung, who unless you were living under a rock in the 1970s and 1980s you should know as one of the more competent kung fu movie stars of his era. Sammo plays the title character "Butcher Wing" (Lam Sai-Wing) one of the more notable of the real life disciples of Kung Fu hero, patriot, and Chinese healer Wong Fe-Hung. Butcher Wing getting his niickname as he was a butcher by trade in his day job, which often leads to many funny butcher jargon jokes during kung fu scenes in movies in which Buther Wing is a character. While not as funny as some of the double entendre fight dialouge in Once Upon a Time in China 5, there is a humorous scene in Magnificent Butcher where Sammo gets a lesson in cooking, mistakenly thinking he's getting a kung fu lesson. Sammo holds his own as Butcher Wing he has the build and demeanor for the part, and quite honestly as this is the only movie I know of featuring Butcher Wing as the main character, Sammo Hung as a big name actor was a good choice for the Role.
Tak-Hing Kwan makes a brief but memorable appearance in his typical role at the time of Master Wong Fei-Hung. This was THE guy, this is who Chinese movie-goers associated as Wong Fei-Hung before Jet Li revived the role in the Once Upon a Time in China series. Tak-Hing Kwan plays and older, queue-less Wong Fei-Hung, but a Wong Fei-Hung who is still a master physician and martial artist nonetheless. Yes this is the movie with the famous scene of Wong Fei-Hung demonstrating calligraphy as a self defense technique. The movie is worth seeing for this scene alone, even if you're not a fan of Sammo Hung you will get a kick out of Tak-Hing Kwan's defensive calligraphy style.
Yuen Biao is also in this gem of a film, one I highly recommend seeing if only to see what Wong Fei-Hung films were like prior to Jet Li. The 1970s and 80s were filled with low budget pure crap films, and rest assured this film is not one of them. This is a rare gem from that era, one that any kung fu fanatic must see.
Bravo, 20th Century Fox, for giving this movie a DVD release in North
America! And not only with a gorgeous-looking print, but with the option of
watching in the original Cantonese with subtitles, unlike other American
I hadn't heard of this particular Sammo Hung movie until tonight, when I spotted it at the video store. I took a chance, and I'm really glad to have done it! Completely entertaining, and never dull for a minute. The fights are "old school", but they are still pretty swift, and the various acrobatics and moves are absolutely amazing. Plenty of comedy as well, pretty low-brow slapstick for the most part, but won't help but bring a smile to your lips several times.
Now, as others have said before, there are some brutal and deadly serious moments, and they will seem out of place to most westerners. But from what I've seen from other Hong Kong movies, this kind of thing isn't that unusual. At the very least, such moments like this just further the ways as to how this movie will be unique to anyone raised on western filmmaking.
Don't think this is the cheap kind of martial arts movie you see on Kung Fu Theater or on public domain video labels - give it a try. You won't be disappointed.
Magnificent Butcher is one of those classic Kung Fu movies - the ones with
all the camera zooms and overly emphasized hitting sounds like sound like
twigs breaking. Sammo Hung is Butcher Wing, a somewhat clumsy and confused
butcher...who also happens to know Kung Fu. Through plot machinations
of a daytime soap opera, it is Butcher Wing who must defend his dojo and
baseless accusations against him.
There's far more Kung Fu in this movie than actual movie. This is a good thing. The fights are amazingly choreographed and never "cheat" like so many movies of its kind do today. In other words, instead of seeing flashes of action which are cut together to make a fight scene, the entire scene is played out in a master shot where you can watch these athletes in action.
I really like this movie for a number of reasons. Way back in my early teens this was the first time I found the legend that it Samo Hung, and his magnificent brand of kung fu comedy. This film holds up well today probably because of the stellar crew behind the scenes including the legend Woo-Ping Yuen. Hung here plays Butcher Wing' the apprentice in a dojo who constantly finds himself caught up in mischief. Wing gets caught up in a series of events that conspire to make him enemy no.1 and lead to some truly amazing fight sequences that truly have to be seen to be believed. Where this film is a departure from the traditional historic kung fu movie is there are no grand themes or sense of the epic just a nice tight small story and some incredible scenes all laced with some incredible physicality both of the violent and comedic nature. A true kung fu classic. Enjoy it again and again.
Without the aid of their buddy Jackie Chan, the icons of Hong Kong cinema
demonstrates that kung fu comedy exists before and after Jackie appeared
the scene. Magnificent Butcher is one of the many examples of great Kung
minus the action superstar, the story follows many strands of the Kung Fu
genre with masters and schools coming against eachother, complete with
climactic battles and a heavy dose of boys own humour that is the template
of this succesful era of kung fu. What makes this one of the greats is
simple charm, Yuen Woo Ping breathes so much life into this movie by
treating the audience to a feast of distintly Hong Kong movie ideas.
Only in Hong Kong action could their contain a scene whereby a characters uses the infamous farting technique to shame his opponent, or a blind begger mistakes a water vase being held by Samo as a toilet, and in the same movie contain an attempted rape, knives being plunged into the stomachs and the lead actor smashing his enemies head with a pray stone in extra slow-mo. Only in Hong Kong would a director attempt to gel these distinctly contrasting scenes and attempt to convey a cohesive story. And in Magnificent Butcher we have something close to success, as Samo effectively conveys emotions of comedy and extreme outrage in the blink of an eye. What is strange is how quickly these charaters forget their injustices and gripes which eventually lead to the climactic fight sequence where everything ends in triumpth, as we the viewer dispel with the plot and relish the movies subsequent closing. Magnificent Butcher, or Lin shi rong, is part of the era of Hong Kong movie making whereby anything that makes the audience laugh and cry for its duration was deemed a success, as the emphasis of movies made in this era was fun twinned with an element of truth, and this calloboration between Yuen Woo Ping and Samo sets the precedent for nearly everything that has been great about Hong Kong cinema ever since.
Kung fu comedy at its most shameless, an undeniable classic for fans of Hong Kong cinema.
This a great Kung Fu film based on legendary historical figure Butcher
Wing, played by Sammo Hung. The choreography is brilliant and powerful
- the action sequences are full of energy and ferocity. The amount of
talent within this film is phenomenal. You have Sammo, Yuen Biao, Hoi
San Lee, Wei Pei, and the awesome Lam Ching-Ying.
The drama in this film swiftly elevates as particular gruesome events take place within Butcher Wing's own house, thus drawing attention from a rival Kung Fu School led by Hoi San Lee's character - armed with the deadly and quite hilarious "Cosmic Palm" style.
The clash between the two schools is cataclysmic, with some of the best choreography ever recorded on film. Yuen Biao vs. Lam Ching-Ying is of particular quality. Also, the drunken beggar character adds some welcome comic relief as well as some of the funniest action sequences I have seen. This character (resembling legendary Master So Hai, and to originally be played by Simon Yuen), acts as a catalyst for the film.
This is one of the best Sammo Hung projects that is available to see. His Kung Fu seems to be at it's peak, and the choreography really is ground-breaking - at least check out the calligraphy scene!
Magnificent Butcher tells us of Butcher Wing, a real life figure who was one of Wong Fei Hung's students, played here by Sammo Hung. Through a tale of deceit and misunderstanding that starts out light in tone but gets pretty dark spirited around halfway through he ends up training from a mysterious old drunkard and coming up against the fiercely powerful head of a rival school. Directed by Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo Ping, with choreography by Woo Ping, this is a near impeccable affair, with a sweet amount of fighting, very well choreographed. The fights have less use of background objects than was to become typical as the genre evolved from the classical Shaw Brothers stylings into more quirky, slapstick infused fare, but still the locations are used to good effect and the fights steer a near constant and well handled course between humorous, fanciful (one or two wall or ceiling climbing moves) and technically masterful, with great use of different styles like snake, crane and tiger, with fights often hopping between styles with aplomb. There's some use of weapons as well, including a cool monkey pole sequence. In terms of performers this is excellent across the board, Sammo Hung is both amusing when needed and a fighting powerhouse, Wai Pei and Yuen Biao provide rock solid support and Fung Hak On is potently hissable as a loathsome villain. Mei Sheng Fan is the strange and talented beggar cum teacher, and is terrific as ever, like a second string Yuen Siu Tien he evokes wisdom and comedy whilst never letting up his edge of mighty fighting skills, a brilliant turn evoking both awe and chuckles. Its near perfect stuff as these films go, sadly it loses a little on the dramatic side of things. It was written by Wong Jing and as such has the typical problems of a Wong Jing film, its move from light to seriousness is too abrupt, then there is humour where it is unneeded in the serious final act, also the overt comedy errs on the side of dumb rather than funny a little too readily. The writing doesn't really understand the dramatic side of the story being put across and thus in general cinema terms it loses out slightly as the finale is less unpretentiously rip roaring or emotionally intriguing than it could be, which is a pity. But overall this is a darn fine example of its genre and practically a must see for old school kung fu buffs. Classic film, enjoy.
A great film. Sure it's a 70's kung fu film, but this one seems somehow
to rise above many of its ilk. It starts quickly and from there, it
feels like there's never 10 minutes go by without a cracking fight
scene. And that's just the thing - ALL the fight scenes are cracking...
even the ones you would expect to be minor throw-away scuffles are
awesomely executed, filmed and edited! As a 70s Hong Kong Kung Fu film,
it still has some fairly broad humour, but it feels more hit than miss.
The pantomime style farcical elements here don't seem as forced or as
protracted as in many movies of this type. It has some genuinely moving
moments and the plot, although straightforward and formulaic, is also
refreshing in that it doesn't deviate too much with irrelevances. Nor
does it get too tied up in itself. However, there is enough plot there
to keep interest in the brief bits between fights.
And this film IS about the fights. There is some awesome kung fu with just the right mix of reality-grounded martial arts, and odd touches wire-assisted flair. Sammo, as with many of the main players, is clearly at his peak, and with his input, the fights can be pretty brutal at times. They are fast, lengthy, hard, and fast and are just starting to move away from the stilted nature of the 70s films. Yuen Biao gets a great showcase fight too - one that shows his martial arts ability more than his acrobatic prowess. This is a film about the martial arts - there are some impressive acrobatics but they are kind of the run of the mill stuff of these films, rather than the jaw-dropping acrobatics of say Wheels on Meals or Dragons Forever. Sammo pulls out some impressive flips though. As does Beggar So's character.
This is my new favourite 70s kung-fuer... and I found it more enjoyable, even, than... dare I say it... Drunken Master!!! Yes - it's that good!
I really have to admit that The Magnificent Butcher was one of the best martial arts films that I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. Of course it dealt with the basic good versus evil themes that are very common with martial arts films, finalized with revenge being the ultimate weapon. I really had to laugh at the beginning scene with the pigs being bargained back and forth with the outcome coming to the "dumb" student. It was so cool! The fight scene with the two masters was just awesome. I have never seen a paleography brush quite used like it was in The Magnificent Butcher. I had to skip it back a couple of times just to absorb what had transpired. The Magnificent Butcher was a must watch for martial arts fans. Beware of the Cosmic Palm!!!
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