Magnificent Warriors
HONG KONG LEGENDS
 
Starring:
Directed By:
David Chiang
Year:
1987
Run Time:
88 mins
Producer: Hong Kong Legends
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, English 5.1
Subtitles:
English, Dutch
W/S Subtitles:
Yes
Ratio:
Cropped 2.06:1 (originally 2.35:1) Anamorphic
Region:
PAL 0
Genre:
Action / Comedy - 18 (UK)
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MOVIE
4/10

Assuming the role of a female Indiana Jones, Michelle Yeoh (or Kheng, as she's called in the opening credits) flies, kicks and quips her way through his 1987 D&B actioner.

Although the scale of the film is initially impressive, what follows is a mundane story involving the rescuing of a small city's Governor.
To spice things up, Japanese-Chinese relations are pushed to the limits as the Japanese Army is in the process of taking over the city for their own gain.

An eclectic combination of elements, ranging from tanks, motorbikes and jeeps, to spears and rope darts are thrown into the mix and all fail to produce anything of note.
The fairly frequent, though short, fight sequences are choreographed with a great deal of imagination, but their direction often lacks "oomph".
The only moments which got my adrenaline pumping were those featuring Yeoh and her trusty rope-dart.
Unfortunately, her best fight sequence occurs within the first 20 minutes, and what follows fails to live up to what's preceded it.
Richard Ng is drafted in to do his usual comic turn, but again, nothing sparks.
My overriding feeling was that I was watching Yes, Madam! 2 - a film with one meaty fight scene, wrapped around the soggy bun of a film.

PICTURE
5/10

Although the print's been sitting around for almost 15 years, HKL have managed to present it with only minor marks and sparkles.
The majority of the film features a fairly muted colour palette, taking place as it does in a desert-like location, and this aspect of the transfer is handled well.

Understandably, the age of the print means that a crispness to the image which rivals recent films, is out of the question.
However, detail ranges from good to very good, easily matching the best that Universe have produced with films of the same vintage.
The only disappointing element of the transfer is the occasional muddiness exhibited in some of the film's night scenes.

Something which I had noticed whilst viewing this disc, but had put down as being an issue with my TV, is that the picture ratio is in fact NOT 2.35:1.
On closer inspection, it is evident the image has actually been cropped to 2.06:1.
I didn't feel that this caused any major problems, possibly because I didn't particularly enjoy the film, but I have altered the 'Picture' and 'Overall Rating' to reflect this.

SOUND
4/10

A very disappointing sound mix is provided on the disc, as it features a horrible reverb effect on everything but the dialogue.
Punches, explosions and gunshots are all affected by this problem, and result in an off-putting soundtrack which is consistently distracting.

SUBTITLES
8/10

A few cases of oversimplified translations occur, but overall the subtitles are excellent.
I did, however, dislike the unnecessary "Britishness" of the subs in one scene:
Michelle demands "20 quid" from an arms dealer, and I couldn't help feeling that would be somewhat unlikely considering the film's Chinese, World-War 2 time-frame...

EXTRAS
7/10

The theatrical trailer, UK promo trailer, a Photo Gallery, Interview and Advert are available under the "Special Features" menu.

The interview, conducted in a restaurant by Rick Baker and Toby Russell, is a 15 minute chat with Michelle, which covers a number of her movies and film-making experiences.
It's a generally interesting interview, and one which is made all the more appealing by the loveliness of Yeoh.
However, obviously enjoying his lunch, Rick Baker's clanking fork and plate are constantly heard in the background and are occasionally distracting.

The advert is a fun look at Michelle's first appearance on Hong Kong TV, with her co-starring alongside a young Jackie Chan in a promotion for 'Guy Laroche' watches.

A 20 minute biography is provided, and causes the same "fast-forward, or listen to the uninterested guy" dilemma that all HKL discs possess.

CONCLUSION
5/10

Judging by their trailer, HKL were hoping to attract the sort of crowd who would have seen Michelle strutting her stuff in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Tomorrow Never Dies.
Whilst this seems good business practice, they've unfortunately managed to pick a film which is more likely to put off future Yeoh fans.
The disc's poor sound, allied with the less than stellar film, make this disc far from Magnificent.

MOVIE 4/10
PICTURE
5/10
SOUND
4/10
SUBTITLES
8/10
EXTRAS
7/10
MENUS
6/10
PACKAGING
7/10
OVERALL 5/10