The Magnificent Butcher (1979) Poster

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Another winner from Sammo Hung
Leofwine_draca20 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
THE MAGNIFICENT BUTCHER is a superior kick-fest that beats any early Jackie Chan film hands down. With the likes of this, THE VICTIM, and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE SPOOKY KIND, I'm surprised that martial arts supremo Sammo Hung didn't earn more respect and international stardom than his frequent co-star. His early offerings provide superior entertainment that do away with the tired clichés and chop-socky action of Jackie Chan's Lo Wei flicks and give the viewer a rollicking good time. THE MAGNIFICENT BUTCHER is an epic kung fu flick which offers everything you could ever want from such a film. There's a complex, twist-a-minute plot, plenty of comedy – of the low-brow, gross-out variety that is nevertheless ten times funnier than any American PIE movie – drama, suspense, horror and, of course, kung fu. As you'd expect from director Yuen Woo-ping, the fights in this flick are outrageously good, always fluid and fast-moving, and best of all, with a minimum of editing; you can actually see what's going on, and that means this film has an edge to all modern-day martial arts films.

Sammo Hung is an intensely likable lead, and he admirably holds his own amongst the ensemble cast here. He's athletic, energetic, and willing to take a beating as well as dole one out; he's certainly one of the top five martial artists of all time, and watching him fight is a real pleasure. Lee Hoi San is also excellent as the fleshed-out villain, complete with a 'burning palm' technique that has to be seen to be believed, really doling out the punishment in this one. The supporting cast is chock-a-block with familiar faces: Fung Hark-On, later routinely typecast as a heavy, has his best role as the truly dastardly villain of the piece, whilst Yuen Biao is briefly on hand to show off his acrobatic style. Stealing the whole show, though, is Fan Mui Sang, cast as a drunken beggar; he's a real hoot, funnier even than Sam Seed in DRUNKEN MASTER, and his sheer presence and OTT acting adds to the film no end.

Western audiences are often left feeling bemused or annoyed by eastern films, especially on first acquaintance. The eclectic MAGNIFICENT BUTCHER will no doubt confuse some people, mixing as it does solid belly-laughs with moments of high drama and tension that wouldn't be out of place in an adult thriller; for instance, the attempted rape sequence is near the knuckle and pretty shocking. In the end, though, the comedy wins outright, especially with the hilarious sequence in which Hung tries to master the 'Iron Palm' technique – little realising that the instructions he's being fed are for pickling pig's trotters, not a new martial arts style! The highlight of this whole film is the ferocious moment when Hung takes his revenge on Fung Hark-On, in which the screen feels like it is crackling with energy. Watch out for that 'Weird Cat' guy as well – a real psycho.
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Great fun!
Wizard-825 July 2003
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 distributors (coughcoughmiramaxslashdimensioncoughcough).

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.
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Wonderful Kung Fu Entertainment
coconutkungfu-3070419 February 2020
Magnificent Butcher really delivers what fans would want from a collaboration between two legends: Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo Ping. The action is absolutely superb and the supporting cast which includes Chung Fat, Yuen Biao , Lam Ching Ying and Wei Pak, are all excellent. If I have to say something negative I'll just ahve to point out that Yuen Siu Tien (Simon Yuen, father of Yuen Woo Ping) are missed in the old master role, a role he was originally going to play before he passed away.

10 out of 10!
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Another winner from Sammo
gorytus-2067231 July 2021
Aug 21

Here we have The Magnificent Butcher starring Sammo Hung.

Butcher Wing was one of Wong Fei Hungs understudys, but this one focuses on Butcher Wing rather than his master in this, Wong Fei hung only appears briefly played by Kwan Tak Hing.

Plenty of comedy to be had ever and some fab martial are, you also get the likes of Fung Hark On, Lam Ching Ying and Yuen Biao for your money.

On top of the Butcher Wing and Wong Fei Hung characters, Fan Siu Wong plays a character who i assume is Beggar So.

Great film, was of the easier Sammo Hung films to get hold of.

9 out of 10.
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Quite good martial arts movie
udeaasykle21 August 2004
Old school kung fu movie. Can't go wrong with that! That and the fact that it stars Sammo Hung makes this a good movie within this genre. With that said, comparing this to Jackie Chan would be bad, because this is another type of fighting. Here, they don't use everything around them; they only use arms and legs. And this is the type of fighting that seems to be conducted like music. It is in a certain rhythm. It is hard to explain but people familiar with this genre will understand what I mean. This is also kind of a typical martial arts movie when you think of the story. There is always a young innocent man, Sammo in this cause, who has a problem that he has to solve. And in these movies, he has to get help from someone before he is able to do just that. As martial arts movies go, this is quite good. I rate this movie 5/10
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Kung Fu / Comedy Gold
ed_two_o_nine6 December 2008
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.
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March of the "pigs"...
Guardia5 November 2006
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!
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kung-fu action-comedy farce, only in Hong Kong
Davidon8015 October 2002
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 on the scene. Magnificent Butcher is one of the many examples of great Kung Fu 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 its 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.
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The amount of misunderstandings in this film is staggering
cauwboy7 July 2020
I'm usually very picky about which films I buy for my private film collection, because I have limited amount of space and no free spot for bad films, so I guess it was a bit of a gamble buying the film box from Eureka Video with three of Sammo Hung's films. But, then again, with Sammo, you know you'll get entertainment and some good kung fu. And kung fu you got, from beginning to end, you can't really complain about this film not having enough fights, it's filled with it from beginning to end.

So why do I only give it a 7 when the fight scenes are so great? The fight scenes alone are 9-10 points worthy and I was entertained all the time a fight started. The story however was shifting in tone all the time, from light-hearted comedy to brutal murder. Growing up with film from US and England, I guess I have a limited view of how comedies and actions should work. Although, I've seen quite a few Hong Kong action comedies from the 80s and they did get less violent for the next decade. Just like the other films in the Sammo-box, there's some deaths that just doesn't feel necessary compared to what the rest of the story is.

The film also take place in an alternate universe where people are slow-minded and easily fooled. Obviously it wouldn't have been a film if people would've explained stuff to the end, instead Sammo beats up a stranger because someone else called that person a thief. That person then tell his master that's a kung fu fighter that Sammo called him a "phony" and lots of other bad things about his school. The Kung Fu master then goes to Sammo's Master and begins to fight him even before asking if any of it is true. Sure, we get an amazing fight scene involving a brush. But looking through the film, there are so many liars that get away easily while some other people end up in brutal fights because of them.

I really loved the relation between the drunk beggar and Sammo's character and reminded me of Drunken Master (same director). His comments during the fights as well as his silly grin made me chuckle a lot throughout the film. I also think that the titles of this film and another film from the box, The Iron-Fisted Monk (1977), had some strange titles to them. We didn't see Sammo do much butchery at all in this film, just carrying some pigs in the beginning of the film. And the Iron-fisted monk, there wasn't really a specific iron-fist through the film, just lots of normal punches. At least this film had some more special fists/palms to it and would probably make more sense if it was called "The Iron-fisted butcher" or something like that.

A slight spoiler ahead - but was the father of the rapist/murder son really a bad guy? All he wanted was to avenge his goddaughter and son for their deaths, and it looked to me that he never really got anything explained to him what really happened.

Don't think too much about the story while watching the film, enjoy the fights.
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what more could a Kung Fu fan ask for
hayabusa-128 November 2005
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 film.

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.
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Call Me Master...
newkfl25 September 2007
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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Would Give it a 9 if not for a few things...
andressolf27 May 2013
Very good movie. Fun to watch. Very funny. Entertaining. Great fights. Really good fighting in this. My only gripe is that there doesn't seem to be enough characters. Perhaps not enough Master Wong. Too much Bum. And....Maybe a few deaths and things I consider unnecessary. Although the fight scenes are good the main reasons for the fights in this movie after the first are weak. I mean....There are so many unrealistic things in this movie to nit pick about. So excuse me for nitpicking because that is all I am doing, and I am imagining it being 'better' or different, but maybe that is not fair for me to do. In any even this movie is definitely not perfect or could be better, but it is fun for me to watch, and funny so I would have to recommend it anyway and regardless of what I consider to be a few flaws in this movie. Pointless fighting, pointless deaths, and decisions by multiple characters throughout the film that do not make sense for them to make at the time. Like Master Wong leaving when things were getting hot. Crazy Cow holding on to a man with a knife and not properly defending himself. Skinny Pig killing such as such in front of many different witnesses and not being reported to authorities. What gives? Is there no law in that town? And the main antagonist is rich but has no guards that can fight better than him? What? That's like a rich man today being the best shot among his guards and only having 2 guards when he can afford 4 or more. This man is supposedly rich yet almost never has an entourage- or at least he does until they get beat up and then all of a sudden they disappear and are never seen again in key parts of the film where he should be protected. It makes no sense. Such a rich man who is a mediocre fighter walking the streets alone and killing alone? It's unlike any other Martial Arts movie in that sense which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good cause it focuses on individual fights and bad cause it's unrealistic for his character to be alone.
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Kung Fu Could be Funny Without Jackie Chan
akermandeniz9 October 2021
A hilarious kung-fu flick as long as you don't question what's going on or sudden changes in the tone. Choreography and humour is top-notch. Even the long fighting scenes are constructed with as few shots/cuts as possible, indicating how much hard work they put into film during production.
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Hugely enjoyable old-style kung fu action
dave_or_did12 October 2002
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.
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Not enough butchering!
roninf5-116 December 2010
With the movie called 'Magnificent Butcher' I thought we would see at least some scenes of Sammo Hung's character practicing his trade. Boy, was I let down. They call him 'Butcher Wing' and I don't think Sammo cut one slice of meat. Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York was dicing up a piece of raw meat (human or otherwise) in almost every scene he was in. Butchering was made integral to the character. That doesn't happen in this movie. I think we see Sammo carry around a couple of dead pigs in the first few minutes and that's it. Disappointing. This has some great Kung-fu fights and funny comedy but it really came up short in the butchering department.
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The best of the best!!!
CapnDred16 April 2007
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!
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Fast paced and fun.
NyteMan7 September 1999
For the fan of the classic Hong Kong kung fu movie, this one is just plain fun. Sammo Hung is comic, fierce, expressive, and a joy to watch in action. Yuen Biao is conniving, devious, and mean. The action is wild, the kung fu is fast and furious, the stunts are convincing, all in all a great chop-sockey type movie. If you enjoy this sort of thing, give it a try!
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More Kung-Fu than movie...this is a good thing.
lightsoutfilms6 July 2003
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 worthy of a daytime soap opera, it is Butcher Wing who must defend his dojo and the 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.
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