David Chung Capsule Reviews

David Chung Capsule Reviews

Magnificent Warriors (1987) — December 20, 2013

A self-consciously Hollywood-esque period adventure with Michelle Yeoh as an Indiana Jones-inspired hero who helps a small town (set ostensibly somewhere like Bhutan) resist the Japanese with the help of Richard Ng and Derek Yee. Relentlessly-paced, with a series of show-stopping action scenes (including a mid-film highlight where Yeoh takes on seemingly the whole Japanese Army single-handed), a light touch with the comic elements (a well-modulated performance from Richard Ng, which is something I didn’t think I’d ever see, much as I love the guy) and maybe the prettiest cinematography I’ve seen from an 80s Hong Kong action film (director David Chung was a star DP of the Hong Kong New Wave, and that experience is much more in evidence here than his previous collaboration with Yeoh, Royal Warriors). The only real problem is the score, which features a nice martial trumpet fanfare that gets repeated again and again and again. I can still hear it.

Like Royal Warriors, Magnificent Warriors was shoehorned into the In the Line of Duty series. Despite taking place in an entirely separate time period, it was dubbed Yes, Madam III for its international release.

Added March 20, 2022:

Less a Michelle Yeoh knock off of Indiana Jones than a Michelle Yeoh knock off of The High Road to China.

Like Yes, Madam it has a weirdly bleak happy ending. Producer John Sham explains why, "We built an entire set in Hualien, Taiwan. As the shooting progressed, I couldn't think of an ending. Since the budget was running out and the film was already long enough, I decided to burn the city down."

I Love Maria (1988) — July 27, 2020

Took me like 15 minutes to recognize Tony Leung in this just because he was wearing glasses.

I imagine the only reason this movie exists is that late one night Tsui Hark watched Metropolis and thought it would be fun to make a robot movie.

Probably should have written a script for it though.