Monday, November 7, 2011

Magnificent Butcher

Magnificent Butcher (1980)

Dir:Sammo Hung and Woo Ping Yuen (Drunken Master/Dance of the Drunken Mantis/Iron Monkey)

So Kung Fu Theater month continues tonight with an awesome film featuring one of Martial Arts unsung and lesser known heroes, Sammo Hung. The pudgy friend of the more famous Jackie Chan, Much like Chan Hung also does his own choreography and stunts which to me is some what more impressive due to Hung's weight. Hung is and was always a truly impressive performer and this film showcases exactly why. For me the awesome of this film begins before the film even starts as the logo I have come to know and love through the years flashes across the screen, Ah yes the Golden harvest logo. A entity I grew to know and love as a child watching these films as I always knew what to expect when I saw it, Either a tremendous Martial Arts action packed film or a truly sad cash in on the genre, Lucky for me this one is of the first variety. Now onto the film.

    Hung plays a goofball butcher named Wing who immediately gets himself into trouble as he beats an old man who is accused of being a thief, Thing is all he stole was a cheap chess piece after losing a game with a friend.The old man quickly alerts his Master Koi of his attack and puts his own spin on it claiming Wing did it intentionally and also challenged Kao's school of the 8 dragons. Kao upset goes seeking Wing at his school Master Wongs where Wong and Kao exchange words and get into a small fight involving paint brushes and Calligraphy over respect. After the fight Wong is notified of Wing's attack and he is punished for his actions and all is well and good between the two schools.

We then see a young couple searching for their long lost brother when Kao's Son kidnaps the man's wife and beats the young man down.Wing happens upon the man getting revenge and beating Kao's son , Tai Hoi in an alleyway. being the gullible good Samaritan he is Wing help Tai Hoi believing he is just being assaulted. After saving Kao's son , Wing is told that the man was trying to steal his wife and he buys into it. We then meet one of the films best characters, A homeless drunk man who happens upon the young husband attempting suicide, After saving him from the attempt he is told of the mans wife being kidnapped and Wing is pinned as the suspect.This leads to a funny and tremendously choreographed fight scene between the drunk and wing. After the fight Wing finds that he was lied to and in fact Tai was the one who kidnapped the woman and the husband is Wing's long lost brother. Wing and the drunk manage to get into Kao's school and retrieve the wife and another woman they believe is being held captive, the other woman turns out to be Master Kao's God Daughter. When Wing finds this out he tries to set her free but she refuses to leave , Wing goes out for a drink with the Hobo and while he is out Tai arrives and tries to rape his God sister accidentally killing her in the process. This of course puts Wing in a bad spot as he is pinned now with the death of Master Kao's Daughter.

Kao then sends a series of his students to Master Wong's school while he is out and the goons fight with a few of the students before Wing arrives and gets into a brawl with Kao who refuses to believe he is innocent. Wing is nearly killed when he is struck by the Cosmic palm strike. After Wings is healed he is trained by the drunken man in 12 arms of Kung Fu.Wing has to put his skills to the test against one of Kao's henchmen  Wildcat in another awesome fight scene . While Wing continues his training  Tai again tries to kidnap Wings sister in law and kills his brother in a fight, The wife escapes and tells Wing of this tragedy , Quickly Wing springs into action and tracks down Tai. Wing gets himself further in deep water  by killing Tai with a fatal strike of his own, this being a grave stone to Tai's head. Now Master Kao is out for revenge on his own as he believes Wing is a murderous madman out to kill his entire family.

This of course leads to the films final fight scene and it does not disappoint as it is one of the nicest choreographed scenes I have ever seen and Sammo hung certainly proves he can hang with the best of them in the business. Wing is out matched at first until The Drunk manages to block a double palm strike of Kaos with one of his own, injuring Kao and leaving him weakened for Wing to get the upper hand. After a long fight Wing focuses his attacks on Kao's arms and joint spots rendering him helpless. Wing finally hits the Iron Fist technique he had been working on to finish the brawl just as Master Wong returns to find the aftermath. Not knowing what had caused this battle he prepares to punish Wing as the credits roll.

Like many of these films there is not allot to it on the surface but this film does some things tremendously well. It never takes itself to serious and it mixes elements of comedy in with the action seamlessly.Sammo Hung Plays his character of the gullible Wing perfect and creates a very likable character that you quickly find yourself rooting for.As for the fight sequences you will not find much better in any film as the fights are extremely innovative and entertaining again managing to throw in some comedy spots in as well.Plus Hung's acrobatics lead to some insane moves that not many could pull off. The rest of the cast in the film are also well played as The drunk is hilarious at times but kicks some serious ass when it is needed and Kao's Son Tai is despicable and you really wanna see him get his ass handed to him , which is a good thing for a villain of a film as you should dislike them.There are plenty of Martial Arts films out there that are much heavier on story and have deeper premises than this film but this flick is quite entertaining and that's all I ask for with a film of this genre. The fights are awesome, The characters are likable and the blend of comedy/slapstick and serious nature meshes well enough to be looked at seriously enough. I will be looking at some more serious Martial Arts films as well this month but for a good fun Kung Fu Flick you cannot go wrong with this movie, I definitley recommend this one to fans of the genre and for those of you who have never seen or heard of Sammo Hung this is a good film to introduce yourself to his greatness. I just wish he got more star attention in his prime as he really should be held in the same league as the likes of Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee as Martial Arts Icons.

Nudity: N/A
Fun Factor:7
Overall: 6.5 out of 10

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