'Magnificent Butcher' - Movie Review

In 1978, Jackie Chan's career took off like a rocket with the release of "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow" and "Drunken Master" (both directed by Yuen Woo-ping), the first movies that finally allowed Chan to show off his "Comedic Kung Fu." These were both huge box office successes in Hong Kong (and remain two of my favourite martial arts movies). This led to a huge string of imitators, with "Magnificent Butcher" being one of the most successful. And who better to star in the latest Yuen Woo-ping-directed Jackie Chan knock-off, but Sammo Hung, Jackie's school-mate and kung fu "brother" (they have a complex history together, but that's another story ... read Chan's fascinating and surprisingly decent autobiography I am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action if you want to know about it).

Lam Sai-wing (Hung) is a butcher, and a student at Wong Fei-hung's school. (Wong Fei-hung is the single most famous Kung Fu folk hero, and appears in literally hundreds of movies.) His school is feuding with another local martial arts school, although a significant comedy scene has Wong Fei-hung politely disarming the master of the other school to limit the feud. But Wong Fei-hung leaves town, Lam Sai-wing's long lost brother appears, the son of the other martial arts master kidnaps the brother's wife, and violence and misunderstandings ensue.

Hung is without a doubt a talented martial artist, but he doesn't have Chan's flair. He improved with age and was at his best when working with Chan, but either way I found this one not particularly funny and the martial arts were too traditional to be interesting. Might be of interest to fans of the genre, but only the seriously hard-core.