The Miracle Fighters (1982)

The Miracle Fighters (1982) is a Hong Kong martial arts fantasy comedy film directed by Woo-ping Yuen. The film stars Yat-cho Yuen, Ka-Yan Leung (Bryan Leung), Cheung-yan Yuen, Shun-Yee Yuen and Eddy Ko. The Miracle Fighters (1982) action sequences include fantasy and magic. Woo-Ping Yuen was also the action director and Donnie Yen was a stunt double in the film.

The Miracle Fighters (1982) was followed by two sequels, Shaolin Drunkard (1983) and Taoism Drunkard (1984) which are similar style films but each tells a different story.

In The Miracle Fighters (1982) a former Royal Guardsman named Kao is forced by his superior to flee after he, a Manchu, marrieds a Han women. A young prince was inadvertently killed when he kidnapped the boy to aid in his escape. 14 years later, Kao now a drunkard ridden with guilt, has been living with a young orphan by the name of Shu Geng. Also introduced are two wacky old bickering sorcerer couple, Old Man and Old Spinster, who are always competing with each other over the most trivial matters. Before long, the old nemesis of Kao, the powerful Socerer Bat, found his whereabouts and killed him. Harboring evil ambitions, Sorcerer Bat forces Shu Geng to impersonate the belated prince, with the intention that one day he can ruled alongside the would-be king. Shu Geng manages to escape, amid strange encounters with the clown in-the-jar, and meets the two even stranger bickering magician couple, who teach him their craft. The rest is a typical revenge motivated plot, in which the young prodigy learn the martial arts to defeat the villain. The setting however, is not so typical as the finale takes place in a sorcerer competition where Shu Geng faces not only the evil Bat, but also countless other sorcerers, each possessing his own unique magic and abilities. The choreography and inventiveness of the fights make this early collaboration of the Yuen brothers stand out among the work of Yuen Woo-Ping, who move on to become on of the most sought after action director in the business today.

The Miracle Fighters (1982) takes place during the Qing Dynasty, when Han Chinese and Manchu people were not allowed to marry one another. Ko Hung (Eddy Ko), a Manchu, has married a Han woman and the Emperor commands Ko Hung to kill his wife. Ko refuses, but must watch as his wife dies while he engages in a battle with the Sorcerer Bat (Shun-yee Yuen). To escape, KO kidnaps the infant prince and takes the baby with him. Later Ko Hung accidentally kills the prince, but when he finds another baby under a tree, he adopts and the child and names him “Shu-kan”, which is literally translated as “Tree Root”. To cover up what he has done, Ko puts the prince’s jade on Shu-kan.

Over a decade later, the Sorcerer Bat tries to kill Ko and kidnap Shu-kan so he can pass him off as the prince. Ko gets badly injured and Shu-kan (Yuen Yat-cho) must go find medicine to heal him. Shu-kan meets two elderly Taoist priests, Kei-moon (Bryan Leung) and Tun-kap (Yuen Cheung-yan). Kei-moon and Tun-kap are disciples of the same master (Yuen Siu-tien), and are always quarreling with each other. The two Taoist priests train Shu-kan in their martial arts and teach him their magic skills. The Sorcerer Bat tries to get rid of the two priests so he can kidnap Shu-kan, and later Bat does manage to kill Tun-kap. Kei-moon then tells Shu-kan to enter a competition to win the Supreme Command. Shu-kan, using the skills he learned, enters the competition where he must go through many different obstacles before facing off with the Sorcerer Bat. Shu-kan eventually kills the Sorcerer Bat, wins the competition and brings the Supreme Command with him. As he returns, he and Kei-moon discover that Tun-kap actually faked her death to fool them so she could obtain the Supreme Command. The two elders then quarrel again over the Supreme Command. They finally decide to play a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors to see who will take the Supreme Command. First, they hand gesture “rock”, then “paper” but Shu-kan gestures “scissor” and beats them both. Now with the Supreme Command, Shu-kan can command them to stop quarreling.