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Issue #112a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES June 17th, 2002

Magnificent Warriors
(1987; D & B Films Co.)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Jung wah jin si
Mandarin: Zhong hua zhan shi
English: Chinese Warrior

Casting Michelle Yeoh Chu-kheng as an Indiana Jones-style heroine is an inspired idea and this largely enjoyable D & B Films imitation of Steven Spielberg's hits even gives the actress a bullwhip and brown leather jacket for good measure. Set during WWII, it centers around a Chinese army plot to stop Japanese invaders from building a poison gas factory in the walled city of Puttan Kaal. Airplane pilot/spy Fok Ming-ming (Yeoh) is dispatched to the area and ordered to make contact with Wong, aka "Secret Agent 001" (actor/director Derek Yee Tung-sing). Thanks to a mix-up, she inadvertently helps a conman (Richard Ng Yiu-hon) out of a fix, before finally encountering her real contact. Ming-ming's objective is to rescue Prince Youda (actor/composer Lowell Lo Kwun-ting), Puttan Kaal's cowardly ruler, while 001 is to assassinate the leader of the occupation, General Toga (Tatsuya Matsui). After a botched attempt to steal fuel for Ming-ming's airplane, the pair are captured but saved, just seconds prior to execution, when the populace rises up and expels the Japanese troops. In a nod to THE SEVEN SAMURAI, Ming-ming and Wong must then help the city's woefully ill-equipped denizens defend themselves when their enemy returns with superior firepower.

The action choreography is terrific and the walled city setting is an excellent, atypical backdrop for a D & B film. However, Yeoh plays her character in such a cocky fashion, Ming-ming never seems to feel like she is in much danger, making it difficult for the audience to believe she risks sustaining more than a scratch or two. Another debit is Joseph Chan Wing-leung's overbearing score, which consists of a handful of mock heroic themes repeated over and over throughout the picture. Of the cast, comedian Richard Ng does the best work, going from seedy swindler to committed rebel in creditable fashion. His conman also provides a nice throwback to the sort of comic relief secondary characters found in Hollywood fare from the 30s and 40s, an era of filmmaking that MAGNIFICENT WARRIORS is indebted to in more ways than one. The supporting cast includes Ku Feng, Fung Hark-on (who served as action director, with Stephen Tung Wai and Benz Kong To-hoi), Hwang Jang-li, and Lo Mang.

Cover art courtesy Mega Star.

Michelle Yeoh. Image courtesy Mega Star.

Ku Feng and Yeoh. Image courtesy Mega Star.
Mega Star #MS/DVD/024/098 (Taiwanese release)

Dolby Digital 5.1
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks (both post-synched)

Optional Subtitles In English, Chinese (Traditional or Simplified), Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Spanish

9 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Clips

Letterboxed (2.34:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

Macrovision Encoded

88 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second; original running time is 91 minutes)

Contains moderate violence

DVD menu courtesy Mega Star.


Great Britain: 18
Netherlands: 16
Ontario: AA (Violence)


MAGNIFICENT WARRIORS was first issued on DVD by Universe. I have not seen that version but I remember reading some complaints about the quality of the digital compression. Sometime after that disc appeared in stores, Mega Star released their own version for distribution in markets outside of Hong Kong and Macau. Aside from mild speckling on the print, the image here looks quite nice, with strong colors. There is some occasional, mild jitter in the fine details of some shots (presumably due either to the PAL conversion or excessive DVNR) but nothing too major. The sound is derived from the optical track of the source print and a hum can be detected during quieter moments. Regardless, this is definitely one of the better 5.1 re-mixes Mega Star has given an older title. The bass is somewhat thin but there are plenty of stereo separations and a good overall dimensionality. Supplements consist of a trailer, trailers for ROYAL WARRIORS, YES, MADAM, and POLICE STORY III: SUPERCOP, and bios/filmographies for Yeoh and director David Chung Chi-man. Hong Kong Legends in the UK has released their own version, which is anamorphically enhanced and likely a bit cleaner, but it is PAL and the image is needlessly cropped off at 2.06.

MAGNIFICENT WARRIORS is available at Poker Industries.

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