Notable Cast: Tony Leung, Lau Ching-wan, Zhou Xun
Well Go USA has brought out some pretty unique material to US soils since the beginning, so when "The Great Magician" arrived on my doorstep I knew it was going to be something of a spectacle to watch. And this Chinese comedy/action/drama/fantasy does just that. Although I had my issues with some of the executions throughout, "The Great Magician" proves to be a massively fun and entertaining watch that piles on the excitement and humor with flair and impressive performances. It's not a perfect film, but damn if it's not entertaining.
In 1920s Beijing, a group of warlords lead by the mysterious and charming Bully Lei (Lau Ching-wan) have been battling out since the fall of the Qing Dynasty. To even the score, Bully Lei begins to use local magicians to lure people into his army and to also swoon his seventh wife (Zhou Xun) into falling in love with him. When a unknown and very powerful magician (Tony Leung) with a massive troupe appears, Bully Lei decides he is the perfect co-hort to acheive his goals...no matter what the magician's true intentions might be...
Unfortunately, just like a real magic show, once the mysteriousness has lifted...a lot of the fun seems to be lost in the shuffle. Most of the issues that arise with "The Great Magician" stem from its awkward narrative that seemingly leaps around from character to character at first with little regard to the audience's ability to follow. At times, a perfectly solid narrative is skewed to the point that my confusion about what exactly was happening pulled me out of the film. The red herrings and various little things that are thrown at the audience are meant to create that mystery, but it also occasionally frustrated me as I desperately wanted answers earlier then they occurred.
|"Looks cool, right? It actually burns like hell. So there."
Written By Matt Reifschneider
Ordering "The Great Magician" isn't all smoke and mirrors though. Just click the links below to score your copy for it's March 19th, 2013 release via Amazon and our dear friends at Well Go USA.