Magnificent ButcherA Kung Fu comedy from 1979 starring Sammo Hung, Magnificent Butcher tells the story of Butcher Wing, a Student of Wong Fei Hung who gets into some trouble with a rival Kung Fu school.

The movie begins introducing Butcher Wing, played by Sammo, as he goes about his usual business.  When an old man is on the run, being chased by another branding him a thief, Butcher steps in and basically bashes the crap out of him to teach him a lesson.  But straight afterwards it’s discovered that he only stole a chess piece, and his pursuer overreacted.  So naturally Butcher apologizes.

The trouble starts when the old man goes to Master Ko, and dramatizes the story.  Of course Master Ko heads of to Wong Fei Hung’s school, where Butcher trains, to teach him a lesson.  He fails miserably as Wong Fei Hung defeats him rather easily.

Unrelated, a young man comes to town with his wife.  This man happens to be Butcher’s brother who he has not seen for many years!  Butcher’s brother, Sai-kwong, accidentally gets caught up with Master Ko’s son Tai-hoi and his wife is kidnapped.  Sai-kwong tries his best to beat up Tai Hoi, but Butcher once again falls victim to what he hears and steps in to beat up Sai Kwong believing Tai-hoi is a victim.  After the beating, not realizing it was his brother, Sai kwong returns home to commit suicide when he is saved by a homeless man called Beggar So.

Beggar so decides to teach Butcher a lesson, and during their fight learns that Butcher is Sai Kwong’s brother, and reintroduces to the two.  They then plot to rescue Sai Kowng’s wife, and in doing so also mistakenly kidnap Master Ko’s goddaughter, Lan Hsing, in belief that they are rescuing her.  When Tai Hoi sneaks into the house while Butcher and his brother are out, he tries to rape Lan Hsing but she makes too much noise, in an attempt to silence her, he accidentally kills her!

Tai-hoi then runs back to his master and frames Butcher for the murder, so then the situation becomes very serious as he must fight for survival.

Butcher get his bash on

Another Kung Fu Classic from Sammo

I emphasize the word ‘another’. while it is a well done film, with decent fights and comedy, I just don’t see much of a difference between this and other Sammo Hung films from the period.

It is complicated with a lot of back and forth going on (just read the intro above), it is still a case of good guy gets in trouble, tries to defeat kung fu master with his skills, fails and then trains under another master and defeats him in  the rematch.  This basic setup is effective when used well, but there’s nothing here I haven’t already seen over and over.

It seems so many of these films are alike and aren’t all that original – but at least it is entertaining and done well, with decent action and comedy.  As I said its ‘a classic’ but its the same classic I’ve seen in different movies over and over – same formula, similar fights and just overall similar.

Sammo and Beggar So

The Martial Arts and Action

There are some decent fights in this movie, mostly from Sammo but also a few decent biffs between Yuen Biao and Ko’s students toward the end.

You got the same basic stop, go, stop, go rhythm that 70’s kung fu flicks are known for, but with that added level of mastery you get from guys like Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao.

There’s plenty of fights in the movie to keep you from getting bored, right from Sammo’s initial bashings through to the final showdown that finishes the film.  It’s all pretty much formula – and the formula works!  Overall some decent action, but nothing unexpected from the era.

The Verdict?

Pretty standard, a well done film which reminds me very much of others in the era.  Check it out to see another piece of Hong Kong movie history but don’t trip over yourself to get to it.

On Blu Ray –

Region A (US & Canada)
The Magnificent Butcher

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)
Magnificent Butcher

Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Magnificent Butcher [DVD]

Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Magnificent Butcher

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