[box cover]

Magnificent Warriors

Michelle Yeoh is beautiful and she can kick seventeen kinds of ass — which, depending on your point of view, may or may not be reason enough to see Magnificent Warriors (1987), her tepid fourth film. Made shortly before marrying producer Dickson Poon and leaving movies for five years, Yeoh plays WWII spy Fok Ming-Ming (a name that sounds like it should lend itself well to an Austin Powers sequel), a whip-wielding Indiana Jones type caught up in the Japanese-Chinese conflict. Not as much fun as the Harrison Ford epic that obviously inspired it — nor as interesting as Yeoh's later films when she returned from her aborted retirement — there are some moderately entertaining action scenes featuring tanks, motorbikes, and a variety of inventive weaponry. But the story's a snooze, with Yeoh and her comic sidekick (HK staple Richard Ng) attempting to rescue the governor of a small town and stop a nefarious Japanese plan to manufacture chemical weapons. Not a terrible film, just not an exceptional one — Yeoh really started to shine when she came back to the screen (as Michelle Khan) in 1993 for Jackie Chan's Supercop. Fox's "Hong Kong Legends" DVD release of Magnificent Warriors offers a reasonably good anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with minimal specks and discoloration, although the colors appear somewhat muted and the image is rather soft, with sometimes-murky night scenes. The Dolby Digital 5.1 Cantonese soundtrack is pretty bad, with loudly reverberating sound effects that overpower the dialogue and grate on the ears (a dubbed English track is also available.) Bonus features include the original theatrical trailer and a new trailer for the film; a charming 15-minute interview with Yeoh about her career; an informative interview with action choreographer Tung Wai; a bio/still gallery on Yeoh; a photo gallery of promotional materials; and a menu of trailers for other Fox HK releases. Keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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