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by David Blackwell

PLOT: In 1938, Ming-ming (Michelle Yoeh) is given a mission to rescue a Chinese leader in a Japanese controlled village. The leader has vital information about a poison gas factory the Japanese want to build near the remote village. She is supposed to meet a Chinese spy in that village, but she soon gets in trouble with the Japanese army.

ANALYSIS: Michelle Yeoh kicks ass. She is the highest paid Asian actress for good reason. MAGNIFICENT WARRIORS was one of the first action movies she ever did. The movie has some spectacular action scenes that will entertain any action fan. Michelle Yeoh shows charisma in any scene sh is in. The energy in the fight scenes makes those scenes stand out in MAGNIFICENT WARRIORS. Sometimes the script is weak from elements that don't work as well as they could have, but the action scenes are the highlights of this movie.

VIDEO/AUDIO: The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen video is fantastic. The blacks are nice and rich. The colors are vibrant. No visible artifacts and very little specks of dirt on the transfer.

You have the option of hearing the movie in English or Cantonese 5.1 Dolby digital with (or without) English subtitles. The Cantonese 5.1 mix sounds better where sometimes the English 5.1 mix sounds like it is in a tunnel (other reviewers have commented the Catonese mix also has the same problem).

SPECIAL FEATURES: There are a variety of extras. Most of them are in 1.85:1 widescreen except for the interviews (which are 1.33:1 Full Frame). Two theatrical trailers for the movie are included (the original 4 minute trailer and the new trailer) which are best to skip until you watched the movie since both trailers spoil the whole plot of the movie.

Next are two exclusive interviews. The first one is a Michelle Yeoh interview that lasts for seven minutes. She talks about the movie and how it was the toughest action movie she ever did, her career including her first movie (The Owl and Dumbo), and how Hollywood productions are more relaxed than Hong Kong productions which move at a fast pace. The other interview is with Action Director Tung Wei that runs for 13 minutes (it is Cantonese with English subtitles). He talks about the action in the movie, how action directors work with actors and directors, how the filming of action sequences have changed due to lower budgets, and the problem with getting on board a Hollywood production.

Rounding out the special features are a movie photo gallery (which has stills from the movie), a gallery of the original promotional materials (some posters and promotional photo cards) which should have been bigger (they seem a little small when viewed), and a Michelle Yoeh movie biography (with photo galley which isn't that impressive).

TRAILERS: Included on this DVD are for other releases from Fortune Star: Naked Killer, City Hunter, Magnificent Butcher, Hong Kong 1941, and some stupid Jackie Chan movie (with Sammo Hung); and trailers for Kiss of the Dragon and the Transporter

MENUS: Menus are presented in 1.85:1 widescreen. The menus features an image of Michelle Yeoh played to some heroic music (from the movie) that does get old after a short while.

FINAL ANALYSIS:   MAGNIFICENT WARRIORS is one of Michelle Yeoh's best movies with great action sequences. Some care has been put into this DVD with some extras. The DVD wants me to check out the other Hong Kong Legends DVDs. This DVD is for Hong Kong action fans, Michelle Yeoh fans, and people who are looking for something more than your typical American action film.

this review is (c)7-21-2004 David Blackwell. This review cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content (and site updates) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia