Magic Crystal (1986)

Posted in Reviews by - January 09, 2016
Magic Crystal (1986)

Super fun action comedy from Wong Jing who takes a distinctly Hong Kong approach to reworking both E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark. The fantasy elements are pure Spielberg, in which a young Chinese boy (Siu Ban-ban)┬ábecomes the bearer of a telepathic chunk of a glowing green jade. The jade communicates solely with the boy, teaching him a bit of self-confidence as well as having fun with new lodger and general sex pest Nat Chan, who becomes the subject of an extended farce in which his hands and feet are rearranged and he is briefly imbued with hypnotic powers. Russian KGB fighters led by Richard Norton spend the film trying to steal the magic crystal, following the trail from Phillip Ko’s suitcase in Greece back to Hong Kong and then back to Greece again. The jade belongs to an alien life form buried deep within one of the Greek islands, so a big booby-trap set-piece is arranged in which Norton and his cronies take on the full force of two Interpol agents (Cynthia Rothrock and Benny Mok), young special agent Andy Lau, his sword-wielding sister Wong Mei-mei, and the boy’s inept father, played with idiotic relish by Wong Jing. Littered liberally throughout are blistering fight scenes, all choreographed with great timing and verve by regular Wong Jing collaborator Tony Leung. Some of these scenes take place under the puzzled gaze of tourists who are idly minding their own business as they take photographs of the Acropolis. A 25-year-old Andy Lau makes for a great straight-laced kung fu hero and the film showcases the first onscreen outing for popular gweilo double-act Rothrock and Norton, who both perform diligently here. Wong Jing’s comedy is typically broad – he gets his kicks from ogling Sharla Cheung or, in one scene, shitting in a bidet – but a heavy stream of action stops the film from verging into complete absurdity. An unhinged delight.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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