It is a pervasive feature of the written history of Chinese martialarts films (from CFW's long-extinct periodical "Martial Arts Movies" tothe pioneering coffee table book "Martial Arts Movies: From Bruce Leeto the Ninjas" by Ric Meyers) that Jackie Chan languished in a seriesof both artistically and commercially disastrous films before attainingstardom in 1978 with "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow". The general idea isthat Chan was being held back by his director/mentor Lo Wei, who wassuch a humorless square that he saw no merit in Chan's comedy kung- fuaspirations and insisted on trying to sell the young actor as the newBruce Lee in a series of straight dramatic roles. This contention hasbeen repeated so often that even today it is uncritically accepted asfact. Well, guess what? It's a bunch of baloney. In the first place,Chan starred in only one Bruceploitation film: "New Fist of Fury".Thereafter, he was cast in period costume productions (in contrast toLee, who never made a period film). Secondly, some of thesemovies--like "Snake and Crane Arts of Shaolin" and "SpiritualKung-Fu"--featured comedic elements. Thirdly, Chan almost always did arespectable job when assigned a dramatic role. Finally, while there'sno doubt that comedy kung-fu made him a star, it's debatable how goodfilms like "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow" and "Drunken Master" reallyare. They were wildly popular, certainly, but unless you considerslapstick the highest art ever achieved by human civilization, they'repretty cringeworthy. "Magnificent Bodyguards", neither a deadly seriousdramatic picture nor a screwball comedy, stars Chan alongside JamesTien and Leung Siu-lung (Bruce Leung); they are martial arts expertswho have been hired to escort a sick man on his journey to see aphysician. Along the way they fight off bandits, hostile Buddhist monksand an assortment of other characters. Based on a tale by Taiwanesewuxia novelist Ku Lung, the film is not a classic by any means, butit's watchable. There are lengthy, entertaining fight scenes and Chandoes just fine in his non-comedic role. (Bizarrely, the movie was shotin 3D, which is why there are so many kicks and jabbing weapons aimeddirectly at the camera.) Further putting the kibosh on the myth thatChan's early films were all unmitigated disasters, "MagnificentBodyguards" was a success at the box office. Don't believe everythingyou read!
A local Kung Fu expert is hired to form a team of guards to escort an dying man to a doctor. In order that they reach the doctor in time, they must pass through the "Stormy Hills", which are plagued by bandits, savages, evil monks are more.
Downloaded 688 times
1/9/2017 1:11:44 PM