28 November 2005 | hayabusa-1
what more could a Kung Fu fan ask for
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.