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The Great Magician (2011) More at IMDbPro »Daai mo seut si (original title)

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Down 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Tin Nam Chun (screenplay)
Tung-Shing Yee (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Great Magician on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 December 2011 (China) See more »
In the years after the Revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty in China and established the republic... See more » | Add synopsis »
1 win & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The unusual Derek Yee film that's a witty and entertaining comedy packed with action and romance- and two irresistible leads in Tony Leung and Lau Ching Wan See more (4 total) »


  (in credits order)

Tony Leung Chiu-Wai ... Chang Hsien (as Tony Chiu Wai Leung)

Ching Wan Lau ... Bully Lei

Xun Zhou ... Yin

Ni Yan ... Taga Group Assassin
Gang Wu ... Butler Liu
Paul Chun ... Liu Wan-yao

Suet Lam ... Li Feng-jen
Kenya Sawada ... Mitearai
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Alex Fong ... Chen Kuo

Morris Hsiang Jung ... Warlord (as Morris Rong)
Vincent Kok ... Warlord
To-Hoi Kong ... Warlord
Ho Leung Lau ... Warlord
Jamie Luk ... Warlord
Jianchang Tan ... Warden Ding
Miao Tian ... General Lei's wife

Hark Tsui ... Warlord

Ziyi Wang ... Li Yi (as Zhiyi Wang)

Daniel Wu ... Captial Tsai
Dejun Xia ... Revolutionist
Zimu Zhang ... Little girl

Directed by
Tung-Shing Yee 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Tin Nam Chun  screenplay
Zhang Haifan  based on the novel by
Ho Leung Lau  screenplay
Tung-Shing Yee  screenplay

Produced by
Jeffery Chan .... executive producer
Catherine Hun .... associate producer
Shirley Kao .... associate producer
Mandy Law-Huang .... producer
Albert Lee .... administrative producer
Peggy Lee .... producer
Jamie Luk .... line producer
Cheuk Kau Man .... line producer (as Man Cheuk-kau)
Nansun Shi .... administrative producer
Albert Yeung .... executive producer
Dong Yu .... executive producer
Hao Zhang .... administrative producer
Original Music by
Leon Ko 
Cinematography by
Nobuyasu Kita (director of photography) (as Kita Nobuyasu)
Film Editing by
Chi-Leung Kwong  (as Kong Chi-leung)
Art Direction by
W. Zhen  (as Zhen. W)
Costume Design by
Jessie Dai  (as Jessie Dai Mei-ling)
Chung Man Yee 
Makeup Department
Yun-Ling Man .... lead makeup artist: Hong Kong Crew (as Man Yun-ling)
Ying-Kwan Tam .... lead hair stylist: Hong Kong Crew (as Tam Ying-kwan)
Chung Man Yee .... makeup designer
Production Management
Lanbo Cheuk .... post-production supervisor
Hebin Sun .... production manager (as Sun Hebin)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Douglas Chingchen Chang .... assistant director: hong kong crew
Xiao Liu .... assistant director (as Liu Xiao)
Jamie Luk .... second unit director
Douglas Chingchen Chang .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Jianshe Hu .... propsman (as Hu Jianshe)
Kwan Lung Lee .... special props master (as Lee Kwan-lung)
Sound Department
Nopawat Likitwong .... re-recording mixer
Nopawat Likitwong .... sound designer
Traithep Wongpaiboon .... re-recording mixer
Kim-fei Che .... stuntman: Hung Kong Crew (as Che Kim-fei)
Kwok-Leung Ching .... stuntman: Hung Kong Crew (as Ching Kwok-leung)
Wei Tung .... action choreographer
Camera and Electrical Department
Shinichi Chiba .... cinematographer: "b" camera, Japanese Crew (as Chiba Shinichi)
Jun Fukumoto .... cinematographer: "c" camera, Japanese Crew (as Fukumoto Jun)
Gen Ito .... second assistant camera: "c" camera, Japanese Crew (as Ito Gen)
Marusuke Kishi .... second assistant camera: "a" camera, Japanese Crew (as Kishi Marusuke)
Sinya Kocho .... first assistant camera: "a" camera, Japanese Crew (as Kocho Shinya)
Takayuki Matsumoto .... first assistant camera: "b" camera, Japanese Crew (as Matsumoto Takayuki)
Akitoshi Minami .... assistant director of photography: Japanese Crew (as Minami Akitoshi)
Hironobu Ohno .... lighting assistant: Japanese Crew (as Ohno Hironobu)
Tai Ouchi .... first assistant camera: "c" camera, Japanese Crew (as Ouchi Tai)
Soshi Sato .... best boy grip: Japanese Crew (as Satoh Sohshi)
Yuta Shibata .... lighting assistant: Japanese Crew (as Shibata Yuta)
Makoto Tabe .... lighting assistant: Japanese Crew (as Tabe Makoto)
Kiyotaka Takahashi .... lighting assistant: Japanese Crew (as Takahashi Kiyotaka)
Risa Terashima .... second assistant camera: "b" camera, Japanese Crew (as Terashima Risa)
Yoshimi Watabe .... gaffer (as Watabe Yoshimi)
Jupiter Wong .... still photographer: Hong Kong Crew
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ivy Chan .... costume designer: Hong Kong Crew (as Ivy Chan Tsz-man)
Editorial Department
Ron Chan .... assistant editor
Douglas Chingchen Chang .... post-production assistant director
Stéphane Ma .... assistant digital colorist (as Stephane Ma)
Other crew
To-Hoi Kong .... magic advisor

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Daai mo seut si" - Hong Kong (original title)
See more »
128 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Cai Qing RenSee more »


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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
The unusual Derek Yee film that's a witty and entertaining comedy packed with action and romance- and two irresistible leads in Tony Leung and Lau Ching Wan, 6 January 2012
Author: moviexclusive from Singapore

Derek Yee's name may be synonymous with socially-aware crime thrillers like 'One Nite in Mongkok', 'Protégé' and 'Shinjuku Incident', but the veteran writer/director's latest work- adapted from the novel by Zhang Haifan- shows that the man has quite the sense of humour too. Defying expectations as well by reuniting two heavyweight dramatic actors in Tony Leung and Lau Ching Wan, Yee's 'The Great Magician' plays less like the historical drama you would expect it to and more like a witty comedy packed with trickery, shifting alliances and of course sleight-of-hands.

Just with its tone alone, Yee differentiates his film from Hollywood's critically-acclaimed 'The Illusionist' to which it has been compared to- never mind that both movies deal with the return of a powerful magician and his attempt to win the heart of a woman he has loved before. Leung plays that very magician, Zhang Xian, who comes back to 1920s Beijing to reclaim the love he left behind three years ago and rescue his mentor imprisoned by an arrogant warlord General Bully Lei (Lau Ching Wan). Coincidentally, his lover, Liu Yin (Zhou Xun), has also been taken by Lei as his seventh wife- though despite Lei's best efforts, he has not been able to make her fall in love with him.

The story is as much Zhang Xian's as it is General Lei's, and the equal emphasis that Yee gives to each character affords his audience distinct but equally delightful pleasures. There is campy fun to be had with General Lei's scenes- whether his six wives, including an especially hardworking Third Wife played by Mainland actress Yan Ni, fighting for his attention; or his futile attempts at trying to win Liu Yin's heart; or his condescension towards his second-in-command Butler Liu (Wu Gang)- and Yee deliberately plays them for broad laughs. Nowhere is this more obvious than in a classic scene where General Lei is discussing power plays with fellow bickering warlords (featuring cameos by director Tsui Hark and Vincent Kok), the squabbling and wrangling among them simply a riotous hoot.

On the other hand, the scenes with Zhang Xian crackle with riveting intensity. Yee successfully keeps his audience rapt with Zhang's elaborate prestidigitation, as well as his and that of his magic troupe's plot to kidnap General Lei for the release of the political prisoners Lei has kept imprisoned since assuming power. Zhang's ostensible enmity with Lei- at least in the first half of the movie- also makes for an equally fascinating watch, as the former tries to overcome the latter's inherent suspicion for someone who has (literally) always something up his sleeve. And of course, in the hands of two of the best male actors in Hong Kong, both Zhang and Lei truly come alive.

Last paired on the Johnnie To-produced crime thriller 'The Longest Nite' (for which both Leung and Lau received Best Actor nominations at the year's Hong Kong Film Awards), both actors seem to be having a great time playing against their usual serious dramatic type roles. Lau gleefully hams it up in an over-the-top performance that is surprisingly endearing, especially for his well-meaning but unsuccessful attempts at trying to impress Liu Yin. On the other hand, Leung is charismatic as ever as the titular 'great magician' performing with poise and confidence his array of dazzling tricks. Though a trifle compared to his previous roles in 'In the Mood for Love', '2046' or 'Lust, Caution', Leung is still as alluring playing the pining lover, and his scenes with Zhou Xun have an understated chemistry.

Yee engineers a number of twists and turns in the script he co-wrote with his regular collaborators Chun Tin-Nam and Lau Ho-Leung, but the most rewarding one is that which changes the dynamic between Zhang and Lei and allows them to share the screen as allies. The quick-witted Zhang and the brusquer Lei makes for an oddball but eccentrically appealing combination, and the second half of the film works like a charm thanks to the rapport and repartee between the two actors. Their engaging performances also anchor an otherwise frenetic final half-hour where Yee and his writers try to pack a lot of plot development into too little time- which admittedly also causes the tone of the film to veer quite dangerously into farce.

Mostly though Yee treads the fine line between wit and farce deftly- and even if certain scenes, especially those with Lau Ching Wan and Yan Ni, end up in slapstick, the movie is almost always smarter than what it appears to be. Yee may have been considerably influenced by the runaway success of Jiang Wen's 'Let the Bullets Fly', so while it doesn't possess the latter's ingenuity and social acuity, there are similarities in the 'wink-wink' comic tone of both films. Much as it draws from historical events- the turbulent period after the fall of Yuan Shikai and his cronies trying to re-establish the Chinese monarchy- there is little to be taken seriously here, especially not when you have General Lei telling his guards to drive a tank backwards down the dust-beaten streets of Beijing because the other end of the vehicle looks nicer. It's a departure from the usual Derek Yee films for sure, but one that's light-hearted, witty and entertaining fun all around- besides, how often do you get both Tony Leung and Sean Lau at the same party?


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