Fei du juan yun shan (1978) Poster

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On the eastern frontier.
mylimbo24 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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One of Jackie's more interesting movies
Aidy8 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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One of Chan's Weaker Vehicles From this Period
ProgressiveHead8 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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Not A Bad Film
gwerq19 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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Fast, furious and fanciful
Mick-551 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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Cool Movie!
mars-145 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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sal-2922 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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"A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away"
Ricardo-3612 September 1999
I have seen a lot of (bad) chinese, and I am a big fan of Jackie Chan and Jet Li, but this movie is probably the WORSE movie ever made. Let me explain why:

1 - The acting is very, very, very bad. The actors in the "nazi" monk scene were laughing during the fight. The fighting scene is very bad.

2 - As this movie was shot in 3D you'll see some knives, rocks and even snakes flying over the camera, to create that 3D effect. If you are watching this movie in a TV, this will look silly.

3 - The fight scenes are quite bizarre. The make up and the fake blood are very odd. The final fight scene is indoor and outdoor almost at the same time (watch carefully the final fight scene and prepare to laugh with the final "the end" scene)

If you want to see this movie, I must say: May the force be with you! You'll need it.
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We have ways of making you kung-fu!
vierlix10 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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Decent ensemble film with satisfying fight scenes
InjunNose6 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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No Jackie classic, but watchable enough for a low budget chop socky effort
Leofwine_draca20 August 2016
Warning: 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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I don't know why we are here but I do know it is time to leave
ckormos115 March 2016
Here is a movie filmed in 3-D and now it is about 40 years later and I am watching it at home in 2-D in about VHS resolution with dual Chinese and English subtitles. As bad as this movie is the 3-D badness is all I can focus on. Kicks, spear points and even bell clangers are used to take advantage of the 3-D effect but now all these shots seem out of place and jarring. I refuse to believe that years ago these odd angles and objects suddenly stuck in front of the audience face did anything to improve the action. I like old Viewmasters but otherwise 3-D is the worst idea in movies.

When I watch terrible movies like this I try to find a "moment". Even the worst movie can have a special moment, not necessarily scripted, that hits a nerve, sparks a memory, or just creates something special out of the nothingness. Not all movies have a moment but this one does. At about 47 minutes James, Bruce and Jackie are standing next to each other thinking. Then James gets this expression on his face "What the heck is going on here?" and he walks off. Then Bruce does the same thing, then Jackie. Yes, that was the defining moment of the movie – what the heck is going on here!- then they all leave!
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Watchable! 4/10
leonblackwood6 December 2015
Review: Jackie Chan plays Lord Ting Chung, who is a local Kung Fu expert and is hired by a wealthy lady to help her take her sick brother to see a doctor, because he only has 3 days before his life becomes fatal, so he has to cross a dangerous village called "Stormy Hill" so he can get to the doctor on time. After picking out some trusty candidates to help him on his mission, including the wealthy woman's 2 sisters and a deaf leather repair man, they head across the mountains to get to the doctor. The dangerous bandits in Stormy Hill are protected by the God of Darts but they have to pay them half there loot. When the God of Darts agrees to help the wealthy lady to cross the mountains, they head of for there quest but all is not what it seems. When they reach there final destination, the ladies brothers true identity is exposed, which leads to a showdown between the goodies and baddies. I quite enjoyed this movie but I didn't understand why they used Star Wars music during the final showdown. Terrible Choice! With that aside, the action scenes were OK and the storyline was pretty straightforward. The director did drag out the epic fight at the end but it's a decent watch for all you Kung Fu fans. Watchable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Wei Lo who brought you movies like the Big Boss, Fist of Fury, New Fist of Fury, Killer Meteors, To Kill With Intrigue, Spiritual Kung Fu and Dragon Fist and he has made a lot of movies which I can't pronounce and I doubt that you have heard of them. He is a highly respected director who died in 1996, due to heart failure and is mostly known for the work that he had done with Bruce Lee. I liked the fact that he didn't add comedy to the action scenes but it still looked like the Kung Fu was pretty basic in this movie. 

I recommend this movie to people who are into their action/martial arts movies starring Jackie Chan, Pang Cheng and Siu-Lung Leung. 4/10
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Minor but amusing early Jackie Chan vehicle.
Scott LeBrun26 April 2018
Martial arts icon Jackie Chan stars in this period piece as Lord Ting Chung, a Kung Fu expert who is hired by a young woman to protect her and her supposedly sickly brother as they make the journey to a distant city for medical attention. Chung decides to do the job free of charge, bringing along other companions played by James Tien and Bruce Liang. Naturally, the entourage will face all manner of human adversaries on their journey - and they will be in for some surprises, as well.

Jackie may be top billed in order to help sell the movie, but in truth this is just as much Tiens' and Liangs' movie as it is his. It certainly does contain some comedy, but not to the extent that would characterize Jackies' best known vehicles from this period. Of course, it would probably play a fair bit better were it not for the cheesy dubbing and dialogue in the English language version, rendering it rather goofy much of the time. The fight scenes are fairly breathless and numerous - but the movie does focus on plot a substantial amount of the time. Viewers can take some amusement from the fact that this is pretty violent, with some priceless, tacky gore as faces actually get sliced off. The production does look to be on the cheap side, but the widescreen photography of some very nice scenery still works pretty well.

Jackie shows off a natural, easygoing charm, although, as said, he doesn't get THAT many opportunities to strut his stuff. Other performances are similarly engaging.

I'm guessing that the film was picked up by 20th Century Fox for distribution in America, which may account for the liberal use of John Williams' classic "Star Wars" soundtrack. Since this music is so intimately connected to that Hollywood blockbuster, it merely becomes distracting after a while.

Overall, this is decent enough entertainment, but it gets kicked up another notch for the hilarious, twist-laden climax.

Six out of 10.
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Pre humour Jackie with long hair.
Fella_shibby1 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
It might not be held up alongside Chan's other efforts, but this raw venture is a neat little kung-fu showcase. 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. This is one of Jackie's earlier and more serious films. It has Jackie with long hair. This movie was directed by Wei Lo who brought you movies like the Big Boss, Fist of Fury, New Fist of Fury, Killer Meteors, To Kill With Intrigue, Spiritual Kung Fu and Dragon Fist. This movie is known for using Star Wars music and being really wacky. This was the first film in Hong Kong to be filmed using 3-D technology. Well, I saw this first on a VHS during the mid 80s n dint notice any 3-D effects. Has some decent kung fu n a very weird ending.
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Dreadful dubbing
grant-robinson29 December 2007
I rented a DVD dubbed in Engish.

After watching many brilliant Jackie Chan movies in Mandarin with English subtitles, this was a dreadful disappointment.

I cannot believe the poor quality of the dubbing, makes the whole film appear wooden. If we must have dubbing, why is it not done with Chinese accents? American accents and a poor standard of dubbing is just dreadful.

The acting is also disappointing, far short if the usual Jackie Chan standard.

Maybe if release in the original language with English subtitles, it would be far more interesting and make up for the poor dubbing.
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