In the early ’90s, international films weren’t widely available in the States. The internet was still in its infancy when I discovered AOL Bulletin Boards. In my search for Jackie Chan films, I would soon become obsessed with the output from Hong Kong. Martial Arts, heroic bloodshed, horror, and various Category III movies would soon find their way to my VCR in the form of 3rd, 4th, and sometimes 5th generation copies, but at least I could see them.

I eventually came to the film Mr. Vampire (1985) and its numerous sequels, which were crazy martial arts, horror, and comedy hybrids with hopping vampires and Lam Ching-Ying. The actor would build his career around these types of wild fantasy films. In addition to that particular series, he starred in Magic Cop (1990), which is making its way to Blu-ray courtesy of 88 Films in a jam-packed limited edition package.

Officer Feng (Lam Ching-Ying) is a former cop who returns to the force when he learns that someone is using the living dead to smuggle drugs into Hong Kong. Feng, who is also a Taoist, can harness Chinese magic which is most likely the only thing he can count on to put the dead back in their graves and keep the drugs from corrupting modern society.

‘Magic Cop’ (1990) Blu-ray Review
88 Films

Aside from some humor that doesn’t translate well for Western audiences, Magic Cop is a wacky, see-it-to-believe-it type of ride. Lam may have been used to portraying this type of character but mostly in a period setting. It was an opportunity to update him while still staying true to what he built his career on.

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The effects are a bit rough at times, but it never took away from my enjoyment of it. If you’ve never seen a Hong Kong fantasy film, this is one I would recommend. After viewing the fortune-telling car chase, you’ll understand why revisiting these older films is so fun. That and the fact they look a million times better than anything I had seen in the past with these new HD transfers.

The 88 Films release includes a limited slipcover, a double-sided foldout poster, an HD presentation, the original Cantonese audio, the English dubbed version, a commentary by Hong Kong Film experts, the Taiwanese cut an alternate score, an interview with director Stephen Tung, image gallery, trailer, and reversible insert. There’s a lot of bang for your buck in the Magic Cop set, once again proving 88 Films/88 Asia are some of the best in the business.

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