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The Magic Crane
   |     review    |     notes     |     availability     |
"I made him myself!"
Anita Mui rides the gnarly Magic Crane
Year: 1993
Director: Benny Chan Muk-Sing
Producer: Tsui Hark
Cast: Anita Mui Yim-Fong, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Rosamund Kwan Chi-Lam, Damian Lau Chung-Yun, Lawrence Ng Kai-Wah, Tsui Siu-Keung, Jie Lin, Lau Kam-Ling
The Skinny: Messy, uneven wuxia is also an enjoyable, entertaining ride. That is, if you can get by the simply terrible looking magic crane, which apparently was purchased on clearance at FAO Schwartz.
by Kozo:
     This fantasy creature-feature is a rather over-the-top wuxia from Benny Chan (A Moment of Romance) and Tsui Hark. Plot: various martial arts schools jockey for position during a congregation of all the martial arts schools. Supposedly, the meeting is to discuss the boundaries of their territories, but in reality they just want to find a way to dominate each other.
     The tiny Tien Chong School (consisting of Damian Lau and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) finds itself lost in the middle as infighting between the schools threatens to cause lots of problems. Thank god for Pak Wan-Fai (Anita Mui), a martial arts princess who possesses the “scared text” [sic] and rides the magical, intelligent, and poorly constructed Magic Crane. Pak Wan-Fai is supposed to “stop evil” or whatever these martial arts princesses are supposed to do. Complicating things is Butterfly Lam (Rosamund Kwan), who has a personal vendetta against Pak Wan-Fai. It seems her dad (and Pak Wan-Fai’s master) once chose to save Pak over Lam and she’s really bitter about the whole thing. 
     A tad overstuffed, the film is nevertheless a fun and entertaining ride except for one large thing: the special effects are awful, and the Magic Crane is incredibly fake looking. The rubber snakes of Green Snake seem Jurassic Park-like in comparison to the gnarly papier-mâché contraption called the Magic Crane. All suspension of disbelief is blown and unintentional chuckles are a sure thing. Beyond that, the film is messy but enjoyable. (Kozo 1996)
Notes: • Ground Zero Entertainment released The Magic Crane as one half of its "Brooklyn Zu: Double Features" series, alongside an unrelated grade-Z martial arts film, Rivals of the Dragon. Surprisingly, The Magic Crane is not only letterboxed, but comes with Cantonese-only language track and embedded Chinese and English subtitles.
Availability: DVD (USA)
Region 0 NTSC
Ground Zero Entertainment
Cantonese Language Track
Embedded Chinese and English Subtitles
    DVD (Taiwan)
Region 0 NTSC
Mandarin Language Track
Embedded Chinese and English Subtitles

image courtesy of World Video

 Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen