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驅魔警察 (1990)
Magic Cop

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 05/05/2009

“Magic Cop” announces its theme right away when Lin (the cuter than cute Wong Mei-Wa) tells Uncle Fung that he is more a Taoist priest than a cop. This is immediately 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 to 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 with that superbly played perfectly shot and very entertaining 90 seconds we are off on another adventure.

We next see how ordinary cops--those without Fung's powers--aren't able to deal with a sudden surprise. The Hong Kong police have taken over a bar--really taken it over. The entire staff--piano player, waiters, bartenders--are undercover police officers as are many of the customers. This huge deployment of manpower is set to trap a drug courier who is expected to make a drop at the bar. An attractive but withdrawn young woman comes in. She is probably the only person there who doesn't draw a paycheck from the police so she must be the target. The difficulty that arises with which the assembled officers can't cope is that she is dead. She is also under the control of an unseen power who has animated her and who guides her actions as she literally walks away from the ambush, dragging Sgt 2337 behind her. When she finally encounters a force more formidable than her undead self--a runaway trash hauler that smashes her into a fire hydrant--the sergeant and his superior officer are mainly concerned with the bureaucratic details, such as the proper wording of the report. This takes missing the big picture to a whole new level.

Luckily for the two of them Officer Fung is in town. Sgt 2337 and Officer Lam are quickly established as a mismatched pair of buddies for him and his credibility is established when Commander Mu rolls through the squad room. He greets Fung who all but ignores him, and then Ma propitiates Fung in a meeting in his office with the two younger cops in attendance.

The real enemy is the evil sorceress Nishiwaki Michiko who is closely attended by an extremely fey Billy Chow. They make quite a pair with her ability to cause action at a distance and use the dead for her purposes. Chow’s supernatural powers are kept in reserve for most of the film but his jaw-dropping athleticism and martial arts skill are nicely displayed. Nishiwaki is a worthy opponent of the imperturbable Fung and her powers showcased very well by the stunts and special effects. Fung uses the unconscious Sgt 2337 to draw a map following Eddie, an employee of the sorceress. She isn't pleased with Eddie and kills him by strangling a cat. Impressive witchcraft.

Fung turns the tables by reanimating the newly dead Eddie but the sorceress regains control and they have a proxy battle using Eddie's corpse and Sgt 2337, once again made unconscious but useful by a Taoist spell. Fung and the two cops then face off with Eddie in a pitched battle in the morgue (where else) but the final showdown with the forces of evil is yet to come since the unfortunate Eddie was just a distraction thrown into their path.

Fung transcends most of the conflict in the movie since he embodies both the practical, sensible cop and the supernatural priest in touch with the unseen although everyone else seethes with it. Officer Lam, who has fallen for Fung niece, Lin, is interested only in what he can see and touch while Sgt 2337 accepts unconditionally everything Fung says. Commander Ma knows a lot more about the reticent Fung than he is willing to tell the other officers (or the audience) but is able to cajole him into using a very powerful set of spells that Ma somehow has possession of. And of course there is the resourceful Taoist against the always resilient forces of disorder and chaos.

There is much to recommend "Magic Cop"--it is a sterling example of the sub-genre. Nishiwaki Michiko is delightfully deranged while Billy Chow is perfectly cast as her loyal to the death assistant with a shocking secret. Wu Ma is crafty and clever, able to manipulate everyone around him from his wheelchair and Lam Ching-Ying is Lam Ching-Ying. He was an absolute master of this character. The only real problem is that the plan behind all the black magic used by the sorceress is dealing illegal drugs which takes some of the supernatural edge off the proceedings.

Highly recommended.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Frank Lakatos
Date: 02/02/2006
Summary: Entertaining Lam Ching Ying vampire movie

This is one of the better Lam Ching Ying vampire movies made in the early 90's, along with Skin Stripperess, Crazy Safari, and Ultimate Vampire. The story and special effects are wild and Lam is at his Taoist Wizard best, doing one Taoist ritual and magic trick after another. The beautiful Michiko Nishikawa playing an evil Japanese sorceress and always useful Billy Chow, playing her gay sidekick make things more interesting. The English dub is witty great as usual for a Vaughn "Savidge" Savido English dub, using the folks that dubbed the Thunder Ninja Kids movies, which makes the movie more fun to watch. Definately worth a viewing! My only complaint is that the movie could have been a little longer. I just need as much Lam Ching Ying as possible in a vampire movie, and this movie was just a little too short for a Lam Ching Ying vampire movie and Lam was a supporting actor than a lead, but there are just too many redeeming qualities in this movie that make me forgive this setback, as this movie is loaded with Taoist magic and Japanese counter magic. 4/5

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 05/07/2005
Summary: Modern day exploits

Modern day exploits of a "Mr. Vampire" type policeman in Hong Kong.
A must see for any fan! Lots of martial arts fun!

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: ksbutterbox
Date: 07/12/2002
Summary: Still worth a look!

I have seen this numerous times and still like it alot. Dull in places yes, but still way too many cool scenes to pass up! Rent it! Buy it! Good HK stuff!

Reviewed by: ButterflyMurders
Date: 06/09/2002
Summary: Did I miss the magic?

After repeated viewings, I still cannot see how supposedly good, or even great this film is.

Reason a). There are plenty of dull spots. Sure, the action and taoist ritual sequences are fantastic, but they don't completely save the film. A major dull spot is when LCY and his niece move into the apartment. LCY and his new room-mates have completely different perspectives on living, blah blah, yawn.

Reason b). LCY's character is so cliche. He's highly principled, he's a lowly seargent serving in a backwater, he's a lone ranger, he's had a chequered past, and he's dramatic. Geeze, as if we haven't seen that before. His character just got on my nerves. Normally I wouldn't have minded that much, except basically the ENTIRE GODDAMN FILM focused on him. Stuff the cadavers, stuff the creepy Japanese drug traffickers. It's LCY's character that's the main focus. Ugh.

Not that I'm completely trashing the film. I just love all the taoist ritual parts, they were very cool. Physically, LCY is probably in the best form I've ever seen him in-very flexible and athletic. Probably his best move was when he did a backward kick, somersaulted mid-air and landed on both feet. Wow. He was like a cat. He was excellent in this film. His performance rivalled the one he gave in 'Mr Vampire'.

The others weren't bad, but generally they didn't have to do too much. Miu Kiu Wai was fine as the wide-eyed would-be disciple.

The final battle was great. A battle against a hideous looking, blinded, and burnt being? Entertainment!

Overall this isn't a bad flick, but not THAT good. 6.5/10

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 02/21/2002
Summary: Vampires

It's another Vampire comedy, but not too bad compared to loads of other attempts at this genre. Still, it's just not that great in comparison to other movies in general. Lam Ching Yin & Wilson Lam are both great, as they used to be, but still only a certain amount of scenes hold the movie together, as the rest is simply dull.

Rating [2/5]

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 02/09/2002
Summary: Great "ghostbusting" stuff

Hollywood might try and copy all the wire-fu and dual-gun antics it can, but there are a number of Hong Kong films which are truly unique -- something which could only be created in that particular culture -- and Magic Cop is definitely one of them. It's not exactly a horror movie, even though there are ghosts, zombies and black magic. It's not exactly a comedy, even though there are some very funny moments in here. It's not exactly a action movie, even though there are a few impressive sequences. It's not exactly... well, you get the idea.

Magic Cop has perpeptual "ghostbuster" Lam Ching-Ying as a cop who specializes in the "spookier" cases. A team of cops try to bust a drug runner, and find that she can still run after being shot. The "old sifu" steps in and discovers a plot that uses animated dead bodies to do evil bidding, and sets out to stop a evil wizard (Michiko Nishiwaki) before she can do more harm.

The result is one of those wonderfully schizophrenic "everything but the kitchen sink" movies that only Hong Kong can produce. Like the Mr. Vampire movies, Lam Ching-Ying's serious performance keeps things rooted even when the action turns to the near-absurd (let's just say that Michiko is very resilient and refuses to die). It should be noted that Lam didn't like playing a "ghostbuster" (after the success of Mr. Vampire, he was pigeonholed into the role), but was professional enough to continue doing the roles because he knew that was what fans wanted.

As for the supporting cast, they provide some nice comic relief to allow the movie to digest smoothly into the viewer's system -- which is good, because the finale is a blitzkrieg attack of powerful magic and impressive martial arts (Lam manages to hold his own against the formidable Billy Chow). Even though some cheesy Evil Dead-style makeup and obvious mannequins cheapen things a bit, the ending mystical fight is one of the most inventive and visually intoxicating sequences put to celluoid.

Magic Cop may be one of the lesser-known Hong Kong films to Western fans -- lost in a sea of Jackie Chan and John Woo wannabes -- but those viewers who want to try something a bit different will find a lot to enjoy with it.

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/06/2002
Summary: Excellent Mr Vampire spinoff

Lam Ching Ying is the cop who's "more like a Taoist priest", who gets brought from his post in the sticks to HK city when a suspect in a drugs deal is revealed to have been dead for a week before she was shot (err, and crushed) by the police. He gets partnered with a young cop who believes all this talk of the supernatural to be so much bull, and their personalities clash until eventually they are forced to get along a bit better by events.

The plot is quite straightforward, but well delivered. It's hard not to love Lam Ching Ying in any role, but especially when he's doing inscrutable Taoist rituals as only he can. The movie is a great example of the kind of movie that HK makes best... a little bit melodrama, a little bit comedy and a whole bunch of great action and stunt work. I'd love to see HK or any country make a movie like this now... but it's probably hard to find actors or stuntmen who are willing to take quite such a beating for their art :)

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

Another cheapie, but a very good one. Lam Ching Ying once again plays a taoist fighting the occult, except that this time he's actually not a priest but a police officer (hence the title). The movie is set in modern day HK, and is about some evil cult headed by the bewitching Michiko Nishiwaki who uses some sort of "ice spell" to control and use dead zombies who do her bidding. Lam Ching Ying will have none of that, and after much ado involving various taoist spells and mumbo jumbo, he finally gets to pull out his wooden sword and his magic mirror and show Michiko who's the boss - except she knows a thing or two about HK horror movies as well, and decides to turn into an evil witch and clobber Lam Ching Ying with some cheesy spells of her own. Soon bodies leap and somersault to avoid the cheesy lightning effects, heads fly through air, and the viewer knows this ain't over and nobody's truly dead until they explode...

Anyone who likes the various Mr Vampire movies, will truly enjoy this little gem. Highly recommended! (only available on VCD, unfortunately).

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 05/05/2001
Summary: Pretty good

A entertaining horror comedy!! One of Lau Ching Ying's best movies!! Look out for Frankie Chin (the bodybuilder) as a zombie.
A must see!!


Reviewed by: jfierro
Date: 12/21/1999

Extremely entertaining supernatural romp in which Lam Ching-Yingis a modern-day Taoist cop called to Hong Kong to solve a bizarre murder. Aided by two local cops, he manages to get in a non-stop series of showdowns with an equally talented evil sorceress (Michiko Nishikawa). Lam Ching-Ying is in top form here making this movie as good as the best of the MR. VAMPIRE series. Director Stephen Tung Wai (who went on to choreograph the brilliant ending action sequence in POM POM & HOT HOT, also with Lam Ching-Ying) keeps up a great pace and believably transposes the classic Taoist mysticism into big city Hong Kong settings. This is a film not to be missed.