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 The Mr Vampire Series

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ewaffle

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Location : Michigan, USA
Registration date : 2009-04-24

PostSubject: Magic Cop   Mon May 11, 2009 9:11 pm

Not sure if this is the right place for a discussion of "Magic Cop".

The first 90 seconds or so of "Magic Cop" were a superb introduction. The theme is announced right away--Lin (the cuter than cute Wong Mei-Wa) tells Uncle Fung (played by Lam Ching Ying that he is more a Taoist priest than a cop. This is iright after Fung averted a disastrous insult to the spirit world when his auntie accidentally doused a fire she was using to send gifts for the dead so they could bribe spirit officials. Lam Ching-Ying is at the top of his game as he uses figures cut from yellow-paper prayers, a special medallion he wears around his neck and a quickly assembled miniature model of an altar to keep the peace between the visible and the invisible worlds. Fung responds in his no-nonsense vampire killing way that both cops and priests serve the people, and serve them well he does in both roles.

The comic relief wasn't bad--much of it consisted of the lovelorn and extreme eager Officer Lam trying to deal with the country bumpkin Fung so he could both get on solving the case using scientific methods and also romance Lin who has come to Hong Kong with her Uncle Fung. He is one kind of foil while Sgt 2237 fully accepts Fung's powers and wants to work with him but winds up being subject to spells by the evil sorceress (perfectly protrayed by Michiko Nishiwaka. And when she isn't making trouble her assistant, who has some secrets of his own, is almost more than the good guys can handle--played by Bill Chow at his atheletic best, he is a formidable and charismatic bad guy.

The action scenes were terrific and creative, including one in which the unconscious Sgt 2237 is controlled by the sorceress who does so by manipulating the corpse of a recently slain (by her) former employee. Both the Sgt and the dead gangster have been bewitched with the same spell.

I found "Magic Cop" very enjoyable--Lau Ching Ying was terrific and the action, cheorgraphed by him and several other top flight action directors was a good combination of brutal, funny and athletic. The ending was satisfying with Fung returning to his rural outpost, the Hong Kong cops happy to have learned valuable lessons, if not in magic than in life, and Lin allowed to spend some time getting to know the handsome Lam.

The only really mystery centered around Commander Wu Ma and his past relationship with Fung. Commander Ma clearly had a lot of respect fro Fung which wasn't returned. But he also know some secrets from Fung's past (which remained secrets to the audience) and used that knowledge to cajole and manipulate the Taoist into dealing with this case.

Highly recommended.
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Drunken Master

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PostSubject: Re: The Mr Vampire Series   Tue May 12, 2009 12:58 am

I have a major soft spot for "Magic Cop". I've only ever seen it once and that was about five years ago. I recently bought a copy but it sits, with quite a few films, waiting for me to get enough time to watch it. I've said it before, but I will repeat it........ I'm going to have to start watching my Mr Vampire films again to get this back on track. Very Happy
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Raoul

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Registration date : 2009-03-31

PostSubject: Re: The Mr Vampire Series   Tue May 12, 2009 6:55 am

This is the right area Ewaffle, though you could always start a new thread. Not to worry though given the evolving and ever-changing direction of this forum!

I also quite like Magic Cop as this was one of the movies that put me onto HK cinema. I recall watching it late at night as a teenager and thinking "whoa cool!" as Frankie Chan has an icicle squeezed out of his head by LCY with the aid of a firehose. It took me almost ten years to track the movie down again using the sole memory of this particular scene, and it was a damn fluke too that I was able to get in touch with someone who passingly knew what I was talking about.

It's a good movie, though some of the comedy seems forced or just ill-conceived -- fortunately, this is at a minimum and by and large the comedy worked for me. It was also cool seeing LCY and Billy Chow go at it. When I rewatched the movie after so many years I couldn't believe I'd forgotten the great fight scenes, especially the remote zombie manipulation!
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achillesgirl



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PostSubject: Re: The Mr Vampire Series   Tue May 12, 2009 3:09 pm

Magic Cop is actually one of my very favorite Taoist Lam films because I think the real heart of the movie is the conflict between traditional and modern Chinese culture. The conflict is obviously represented by Lam's elderly wise, powerful traditional priest versus the young, silly modern cops. Traditional wisdom is, of course, the winner.

Yes, it's far from being the only film of its kind (I think many of Lam's Taoist films feature the same conflict) but the theme is an opportunity for the movie to play with a wealth of traditional beliefs, magic, religion, and trickster stories.

I think Lam must have really valued his traditions.
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