15 October 2002 | Davidon80
kung-fu action-comedy farce, only in Hong Kong
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.