Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 24th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1979
Director: Woo-ping Yuen
Writer: Jing Wong
Cast: Sammo Hung Kam-Bo , Biao Yuen, Hoi San Lee
DVD Released: July 22nd, 2003
Approximate Running Time: 108 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: PG 13
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
DVD Release: 20th Century Fox
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.98
Synopsis: Butcher Wing (Sammo Hung), is the inept student of Wong Fei Hung (Kwan Tak-Hing). When Wing accidentally assaults an innocent man a bad blood brews between him and a rival martial school led by Master Kao (Lee Hoi San). Master Kao pays Wong Fei Hung a visit while he is practicing calligraphy. The two spar off and no matter how hard Master Kao tries Wong Fei Hung always seems to be one step ahead of him. Wong Fei Hung punishes Butcher Wing for bringing disgrace to his school. Things continue to go down hill for Wing long lost brother and his wife come to town. They are kidnapped by Master Kou’s son, Tai Ho (Hark-On Fung). When Wing’s brother teams up with a drunken master (Fan Siu Ming), a series of events will pit brother against brother and Wing will be framed for murder.
The Magnificent Butcher the only creative collaboration of two martial arts legendary filmmakers Sammo Hung and Yuen Wo-ping. The Magnificent Butcher has an A-List cast of legendary kung fu actors Lam Ching-ying, Yuen Biao and Kwan Tak-hing. The film is loaded with dynamic Kung FU that is lightning fast in its execution and as in most Sammo Hung movies there are moments of comic relief like when the blind man pees in pot while Wing holds the pot. There is just some much breath taking martial arts in The Magnificent Butcher, but one scene really sticks out when Tai Ho and his thugs fight the drunken master in the wine shop and how the drunken master uses the wine and his surroundings to help him get drunk and win the fight. That scene like the whole movie is so well executed and it is too bad Sammo Hung and Yuen Wo-ping hasn’t made more films together.
The Magnificent Butcher is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2:35:1 and it has been Anamorphic Enhanced. The colors are vivid and the flesh tones look healthy while blacks are rich in detail. There is very little grain and overall this is an impressive restoration job from Fox.
There are two audio options on this DVD English or the original Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround tracks with optional English or Chinese subtitles. The English track is the newer of the two tracks in is stronger and cleaner then the Cantonese track. The voice acting on the English dubbed track was to up front and at times a bit overpowering. The Catonese was sourced from mono and there is only so much that can be done when remixing mono into 5.1 stereo giving the Catonese track a soundtrack that isn’t as beefed up as the English Dub. The Catonese track for purists will be the more preferred and the English sub titles appear to “dub titles”, translated from the English dubbed track.
Extras include Two Magnificent Butcher trailers (original and new), bonus trailers for City Hunter, Hong Kong 1941, The Transporter and Kiss of the Dragon. Other extras include Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo Ping bios, Photo Gallery, Production Notes, Original Promo Materials and the music video “Amazing Sammo”. The Magnificent Butcher is as Kung Fu fans dream come true a solid story and amazing martial arts sequences. Fox’s DVD is stunning and The Magnificent Butcher hasn’t looked this good since it was released in theatre’s back in the late 1970′s. Whether you are a fan of Sammo Hung, Yuen Wo-ping or if you just love kick ass martial arts The Magnificent Butcher is a must own DVD.