Written by: Carroll Jenkins on January 2nd, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1987
Director: David Chung
Writer: Kan-Cheung Tsang
Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Richard Ng, Tung-Shing Yee, Lowell Lo, Chindy Lau, Matsui Tetsuya
DVD released: July 22nd, 2003
Approximate running time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
DVD Release: 20th Century Fox
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.98
This film is a somewhat uneasy mixture of adventure and comedy. Comedic elements are rather prevalent and sometimes strained, but obviously intended to lessen the impact of the absolutely ruthless and barbaric portrayal of the Japanese. Even some of the more intense scenes contain subtle and/or ironic humor, including those of lethal gas testing and a protracted execution sequence.
Michelle Yeoh appears in her third and final starring role in a martial arts film prior to her first marriage and retirement. She is young and perky and quite appealing – after all, she was Miss Malaysia just 4 years prior. A ballerina by training rather than a martial artist, her performance is still quite impressive. Stardom came (following her divorce) with the Jackie Chan film Police Story 3: Super Cop.
The comedy relief is handled by Richard Ng. His character is not a complete buffoon, nor entirely self-centered, and his performance provides some subtle depth. The supporting characters are engaging and the villains are just bad news. The large cast of extras are quite effective, especially in the climatic battle scenes, even if it appears that a few actors get killed multiple times.
An early Fox Star release, it could be better, but the interlaced anamorphic presentation is still quite nice. Besides the non-anamorphic widescreen trailer there are interviews with Michelle Yeoh and the action director. Michelle recalls how grueling the shoot was, and Tung Wai is [justly] proud of the intense and effective action in the film.
Magnificent Warriors is inspired by Raiders Of The Lost Ark by way of The Seven Samurai. It’s an explosive Hong Kong action / martial arts film with an amazing amount of action. There’s some sugar to cut the vinegar, but the end result is quite tasty.