Michelle Yeoh as an Indiana Jones Style Adventurer in 1930s China… say no more!!! Magnificent Warriors comes to Blu-Ray in a new 2K restoration thanks to 88 Films!
Some films hit you in the right spot. Magnificent Warriors with its Indiana Jones-style adventure and Michelle Yeoh as its lead is aimed directly at my cinematic heart. There are a lot of BAD Indiana Jones knock-off films, but the rarity is a good or even GREAT one. The David Chung-directed epic falls on the latter rather than the former.
Ace Pilot and general Adventure seeker Fok Ming-ming (Yeoh) is given an assignment in the middle of WWII. She’s to find and help in any way she can Secret Agent 001 (Derek Yee) in the town of Kaa Yi which appears to have been compromised by the Japanese. It is worse than they thought as they discover that the Japanese – in the form of General Toga (Matsui Tetsuya) – are not only manipulating the local lord but have designs to do horrible experiments on the locals. With the help of a criminal (Richard Ng), the local lord (Lowell Lo), and his plucky girlfriend (Cindy Lau) these Magnificent Warriors (love those puns) take on Toga in an epic battle that will not soon be forgotten.
The beauty of director David Chung’s feature is that it doesn’t outright copy any of the Indiana Jones films per se. Rather Chung and company have created a film that is inspired by the film but creates its own brand of specific high adventure. Yes, Yeoh’s character wields a whip and wears a leather jacket but that’s where the comparisons stop. In fact, the film adroitly uses references and homages rather than taking plot points. The result works and isn’t hobbled by “loss in translation” story points.
Magnificent Warriors delivers sharp and well-choreographed action. There’s a lightness and humor to the first two-thirds of the film and its set pieces. The dog fight that Yeoh’s character’s bi-plane gets into with a Japanese Zero – and her solution to having no guns on her plane – is a prime example kind of fun-filled smart action that elevates this to top-tier ‘80s action. When the film decides to get serious and creates an entire third-act epic battle the film delivers on scale and physicality that’s even rare for an HK Production, let alone a Hollywood Studio Blockbuster at the time.
Bust out the popcorn, candy, and soda. Strap yourself into your seat. Magnificent Warriors is about to be one of the most entertaining nights at the movies (at home)!
The all-new 2K Restoration from the Original Camera Negative is another winner from 88 Films. The image has been beautifully restored, the result being a sharp handsome Blu-ray that’s lightyears ahead of the previous home video iterations of the title. There isn’t a fault or issue with the image, not a scratch or defect, not any digital issues like artifacting or ghosting. Magnificent Warriors is a standout even among the best work done by the label.
They include the following:
- Audio commentary with Asian cinema expert Frank Djeng
- Interview with Michelle Yeoh
- Interview with Tung Wai
- English Opening Credit Sequence
- HK Trailers
- English Trailer
- Still Gallery
The Audio commentary with Asian cinema expert Frank Djeng opens with his bonafides and the literal translation of the Chinese Title, the multiple titles the film goes by, and its box office failure. Some of the other details include that the second unit director Johnny To, the different names of various actors during the opening title sequence, the on-location shoots in both Twain and America, the voice actor that dubbed Yeoh’s voice, Yeoh’s training to use the whip and the rope dart, the historical time period that it takes place during the Japanese invasion of China, the career and work of Tung-Shing Yee, the work and career of cinematography of Ma Chun-Wah and Law Wan-Shing, the work and career of director David Chung, the career and personal history of Michelle Yeoh – how she became an actor and super star, the personal and professional history of Richard Ng, some of the historical facts that the film uses specifically the atrocities done by Japanese military during WWII – including Unit 731, the injuries sustained by Yeoh during the production, an appearance by future director Stanley Tong – who would double Yeoh in the film and this relationship would eventually turn into casting Yeoh in Police Story 3: Super Cop, the personal and professional history of car action choreographer Blackie Coal, the creation of the studio D & B – how Sammo Hung was involved and what they produced, a discussion of the finale and how audiences would have taken it and other various notes about the production of the finale, and more. Another winner from Djeng! The fast-paced commentary track ensures that you’re not just getting a wealth of information on the production but historical anecdotes, various actors’ own history in film, and many other films you’ll want to reference and seek out.
Interview with Michelle Yeoh (6:57) – this archival interview with the superstar opens with Yeoh stating Magnificent Warriors was one of the most challenging shoots of her life begins this all-too-brief interview with the superstar. Some of the details include the shoot was literally back-to-back action, an Earthquake that hit the production on-location in Twain, the film being a challenge, the weapons work – specifically the whip and how dangerous it was, the difference between US and HK productions, and much more. In English.
Interview with Tung Wai (12:53) – this archival interview with Stunt Coordinator Tung Wai that Michelle Yeoh was injured on the third day of the shoot. Some of the other details include how they approached the action with Yeoh coming from a Ballet/Dance background to approach the action and the injury, how he approaches designing action sequences in general and on Magnificent Warriors, how things have changed since the movie was produced in 1982, side discussions about Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and others – how the approach to the action when working with these star/directors on features, and much more. In Cantonese with English Subtitles.
English Opening Credit Sequence (1:49) – Note the “Western” names some of the crews uses. Also of note, the sequence has been fully restored.
HK Trailer One (4:34) – Cantonese with English Subtitles
HK Trailer Two (4:03) – Cantonese with English Subtitles
English Trailer (3:12)
Still Gallery (3:41) – the gallery consists of Poster Art, Production Stills, and Lobby Cards that play over the film’s score by Joseph Chan.
The Final Thought
Magnificent Warriors is a wildly good action adventure. 88 Films has done the film justice with great picture, sound, and extras. Highest Possible Recommendations!!!