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on October 8, 2013
Tony Leung plays a charismatic stage magician that has troubles abroad to perfect his craft. He blends traditional Chinese magic acts with Western tricks as well. The performances are a highlight of the movie. The other two subplots involving the love story between Tony Lueng and Chiu Wai are intersting and add an elements of a romantic comedy. While the overall threat of the Japanese Invasion/Rebirth of the Manchu Dynasty is intriguing giving the WWI era feel to the movie. It definitely keeps you entertained and involved.
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on April 23, 2013
I wasn't sure about this film, being one that is spoken in Chinese or Japanese. I'm not able to speak the language, but once I got past the subtitles and reading them fast, this movie turned out to be a really fun movie to watch.

It started out looking to be a standard type of film, but as it progressed and I was able to follow the story line, the funnier it got.

By the end of the movie, I was laughing out loud. The "magic" in this film is really great and realistic.

A very well done film and I plan to watch it again. It is really well done.
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on June 4, 2013
Just for fun. A delightful, light hearted movie. The actors were very good and perfect for this type of movie. Please remember, this is a Chinese movie, not an American one. You will have to read, but at a point, you are enjoying the film and forget that your even reading along.
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on July 12, 2013
I thought this movie was fantastic. Great story, plot twists, ect.

One problem. The description for it, both on amazon and netflix, having nothing to do with the actual film. There is no "eight immortals" mentioned in the movie at all. Ever.

Puzzling.
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on May 25, 2013
Others have written more extensive & knowledgeable reviews, but I just wanted to add my two cents' worth. The magic entertainments are truly entertaining, the special effects fun, the acting wonderful. As an added treat we get to see a scene that has to be seen to be believed: a large table around which generals sit and move figures of soldiers as they argue strategy...or whatever it is they're really talking about...because this is actually a table surrounded by some of today's greatest Chinese directors having what is obviously great fun! It is astonishing. You can learn about it in the making-of feature included with the movie. A must-see that the movie's (really) director accurately describes as leaving the audience feeling happy!
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on February 18, 2013
I had heard good things about "The Great Magician," and was suitably impressed by the magic (no, it's not all CGI!), story and action in the wonderful film. Other than a few bad words, I would recommend this for kids, but let's leave it at teen audiences and above. Tony Leung gives an admirable performance and the other actors are first rate, too! It was interesting to learn how some of the illusions are performed, but I'm betting other magicians won't like the tricks of the trade being exposed!
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From director Tung-Shing Yee (a.k.a. Derek Yee, "Shinjuku Incident", "Protege", "One Nite in Mongkok") comes a Hong Kong action fantasy film starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai ("Hero", "2046″, "Infernal Affairs", "In the Mood for Love"), Lau Ching-wa ("Mad Detective", "Black Mask", "Running Out of Time") and Zhou Xun ("Painted Skin: The Resurrection", "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate", "Cloud Atlas", "Suzhou River").

The film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment in March 2013.

VIDEO:

"The Great Magician" is presented in 1080p High Definition. The film is presented in 16:9 widescreen and picture quality is very good. From close-up details and seeing the textures on the clothing, visual effects such as flames/fires and computer generated smoke look good especially outdoor scenes in which colors are vibrant. Skin tones look natural and black levels are nice and deep. Overall, picture quality is very good!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

"The Great Magician" is presented in Mandarin (Original) and English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and Mandarin and English 2.0. Both Mandarin and English lossless tracks feature good surround sound activity. Live shows inside the theater during a magic performance utilizes audience clapping through the surround channels, fireworks come alive through the surround channels as well as ambiance. Also, music is utilized through the surround channels. Dialogue is crystal clear as with the musical score by Leon Ko.

But a action fantasy film that with plenty of surround activity, especially during the action scenes towards the end of the film.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

"The Great Magician" come with the following special features:

Making the Magic - (37:55) The making of "The Great Magician" featuring interviews with Tung-Shing Yee and the cast. Behind-the-scenes on the making of various scenes.
Trailer - (:59) Theatrical trailer for "The Great Magician".

JUDGMENT CALL:

Featuring a wonderful pairing of two great HK actors Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Lau Ching-wa with elegant actress Zhou Xun , "The Great Magician" is a film that is well-acted, features plenty of humor, action and fantasy elements.

For the most part, the film is a comedy. Lau Ching-wa plays the warlord Bully who is rumored to be a tyrant, but in truth, he is kindhearted and doesn't like to see people getting hurt. But he knows the importance of his power as a warlord and despite his lieutenant Liu wanting to exert power on the people, Bully resists. Part of the charm of Bully Lei is that he is so unlike the warlord that people think of him as.

Clumsy and naive, Lau Ching-wa is a versatile actor who knows how to get people to laugh through facial movements and his action and he achieves it in "The Great Magician".

For Bully is mostly a man that is dedicated in growing his empire but finding a way to have his seventh wife, Liu Yin love him.

Liu Yin is an independent woman who has been kept confined by Liu Yin. A woman who just wants her father to be freed and will never submit to him or any man. Actress Zhou Xun has done a fantastic job in many films, playing the cold or somewhat emotionless characters. In "The Great Magician", she is a woman who was left behind by her fiance Chang and now that he has returned, she is not sure if she has any love for him any more.

Typically, you don't see to many Hong Kong films, especially one set in the 1920′s where a woman is portrayed as strong and not the typical damsel in distress role. The character is portrayed as independent and strong.

Meanwhile, the role of Chang is wonderfully performed by veteran Tony Leung Chiu-wai. A suave and confident magician, he wants to save his former fiance and her father, but realizes how much she has changed in years because it took so long for him to come back for her.

A film showcasing a love triangle, it becomes more interesting when Bully comes to the magician Chang in hopes to learn magic to woo his seventh wife Liu Yin. But since Yin's father is a master magician and her former boyfriend is also a magician, she has seen it all.

The film does feature a storyline about corrupt Chinese working with the evil Japanese who seek to cause disruption in Bully's land. While the Lt. Liu Kun Shan (portrayed by Wu Gang) is seen as the primary antagonist, part of the problem of the film is that it tries to be a film about a love triangle, yet tries to incorporate this behind-the-scenes planning of a coup between Liu and the Japanese. Because the film is a comedy, the antagonists action can't be taken as anything too deep. And as a viewer, it's not easy to care for this other side story as you are more invested on Chang and whether or not he can free his former love and her father.

For the most part, at 129 minutes, you feel that the pacing is off as too much of the plot involving the coup attempt is going too fast and feels rushed.

But as a fan of Derek Yee's films, it's good to see him doing something outside of crime thrillers. Not emotional, dark or deep, this is a film that is bound with humor, visual effects and is quite enjoyable as a comedy.

The film does look wonderful on Blu-ray and the visual effects on the magic used throughout the film is nicely done. Costume design is also well done and cinematography is very good. Especially the wire-work for stunts throughout the film. The lossless soundtrack is well-done and is quite immersive. I wish there were more special features but I am glad that a 38-minute featurette was included as most Asian cinema tend to only have short featurettes and a trailer.

Overall, "The Great Magician" is a fun, witty action fantasy film featuring wonderful performances by Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Lau Ching-wa and Zhou Xun. But with a lengthy film with frenetic pacing of its intricate plot full of twists and turns, while entertaining, some portions of the film does lose its luster due to frenetic pacing. Still enjoyable and a Hong Kong film worth watching!
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on September 3, 2013
This is a pretty good movie to watch. Its a bit like The Prestige & The Illusionist mixed asian style. The cast is great. The scenery is fantastic. The magic tricks are very intriguing to watch. I'm glad I bought this movie.
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on April 8, 2013
This was a very, very enjoyable movie and not typical of what I have found in chinese movies. This movie has comedy,intrigue, unique plot twists, and interesting magic tricks. I don't want to say too much without being fearful of giving plot twists away, but I will say if you are a fan of the genre, I would recommend this movie as it is unlike anything I have seen before in the genre and I feel it is unique. If you are looking for a movie that isn't hard to follow, but has several plot twists and has some light comedy, pick this one up.
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on May 20, 2013
Bought this movie at Target after reading the general opinions on Amazon. But having felt a little let down by overwhelming critics from Amazon in the past still wondered if I wasted my money. After watching the movie felt more entertained than expected and the story line was quite good.
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