The Miracle Fighters (1982)

There’s no return to normal cinema viewing after being exposed to ANY of director Yuen Woo-ping’s films.  This is an indisputable fact.  While most audiences know the director’s work 1977’s Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow and 1978’s The Drunken Master due to his collaborations with a young Jackie Chan, his defiant and unique vision for martial arts movies would arrive with 1982’s The Magical Fighters, a magical martial arts fantasy by way of the . . . bat.

I’m going to pause right here because there’s no possible way to encapsulate this film with the written word.  It has to be seen in its entirety to be believed and, trust me, I am not going to be able to do this film any justice because, honestly, it’s honestly some next level chop socky that I can only gawk at.

"slapstick by way of chop socky entertainment"

The Miracle Fighters is a film in which two eternally-bickering taoists, Kei-moon (Bryan Leung) and Tun-kap (Yuen Cheung-yan), train a young apprentice, Shu-kan (Yuen Yat-cho),  to defeat the likes of characters named the Sorcerer Bat (Yuen Shun-yi) and Painted Face in Pot and earn the title of Supreme Command.  That’s the simplest this plot can be whittled down to because, and let me be absolutely clear here, this slice of chop socky cinema is an absolute delight of absurdist comedy. 

The crazy and comical situations are extreme and often hilarious - including a little people fight sequence on a table, body double tricks, cat’s cradle duos, wooden men come to life, and several fights with large wine jars which grow arms and legs - and the characterizations are absolutely pulled from the sheer lunacy of Looney Tunes.

Yet it begins normally enough when a high-ranking official Kao Hsiung (Eddy Ko) is found out to have taken a Han wife!  Such things were outlawed during the Qing Dynasty and the Emperor informs him that he will be forgiven – but only if he kills his beloved before the court. What?!

When he refuses, Kao Hsiung is forced to watch as his wife is slain before his eyes. Kao Hsiung flees, kidnapping the Crown Prince during his escape – but soon the prince is dead, and Kao Hsiung is forced to silently replace him with another young boy. In adulthood, that innocent child – Shu-kan – finds himself relentlessly pursued by Sorcerer Bat, and turns to two quarreling taoist priests in the hope of protecting himself with their magic.The Miracle Fighters (1982)

In some ways, this wacky spin on wizards standing united against tyranny tale is ahead of its time, predating what Kung Fu Hustle would later do, but - in its context - it’s not unlike what Sammo Hung was doing in Encounter of the Spooky Kind, albeit this insanity is on a whole ‘nother level.  Ping has a unique vision for the comedy and the martial arts on display and, when combined, most of The Miracle Fighters works to create a film you simply cannot believe you are seeing unfold.      

Ping delights in pitting dark forces up against lighter forces and, quite honestly, there are several scenes of comedic combat which are both expressive and emotional, creating a unique tension that can simply be dismissed.  There is a lot going on behind the mechanics of The Miracle Fighters which ought to keep it from the LOVE IT or LEAVE IT bin the film often gets placed in.

Much of The Miracle Fighters is slapstick by way of chop socky entertainment.  This much is true but, if I am being honest, this film shouldn’t be mistaken as an easy watch or dumb fun.  While endlessly entertaining, this feature’s main thrust seems to lie in its transformative handling of chinese mythology, bringing to light some of its belief systems, and having some creative fun as campy horror - complete with capes, fangs, bats, and smoke machines - meets some deadly kung-fu.

The Miracle Fighters is now on blu-ray from Eureka!

5/5 Fists


The Miracle Fighters (1982)

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Eureka!
Available on Blu-ray
- January 25, 2024
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
: English
Cantonese: LPCM 2.0 Mono; English: LPCM 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The Miracle Fighters is a comedic tale of taoist magic directed by the martial arts maestro behind Drunken Master, The Magnificent Butcher and Iron Monkey – the legendary Yuen Woo-ping!  Made in the same mold as its contemporaries Encounter of the Spooky Kind and The Dead and the Deadly, this riotous kung fu fantasy was followed by a number of equally entertaining thematic sequels including Taoism Drunkard and Young Taoism Fighter. Eureka Classics is proud to present The Miracle Fighters on Blu-ray from a brand new 2K restoration.


Presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, The Miracle Fighters is beautifully presented on 1080p from Eureka.  Interiors are strong.  Colors pop throughout, but it is the blood effects - burning bright in the transfer - which seal the deal on this one.  It’s full of great atmosphere thanks to the quick-footed script and looks visually eye-popping due to the 1080- upgrade.  Black levels are strong throughout, bringing out nice details in both the loud and quiet moments of this epic adventure.  The tracking shots are glorious to behold in 1080p. Blacks are solid and shadows maintain their lines.  Even the costumes are noted stitch by stitch.


Fans of the genre get uncompressed Mandarin and English original mono tracks, plus Cantonese mono for the film.


Get ready to duel to the death with these supplemental items!


  • See Special Features for the breakdown.

Special Features:

  • Limited edition O-Card slipcase featuring new artwork by Darren Wheeling [2000 copies]

  • 1080p HD presentation on Blu-ray of the original Hong Kong theatrical cut from a brand new 2K restoration

  • Original Cantonese mono audio and optional classic English dub

  • Optional English subtitles, newly translated for this release

  • Brand new audio commentary on the Hong Kong theatrical version by Asian film expert Frank Djeng (NY Asian Film Festival)

  • Brand new audio commentary on the export version by action cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema

  • Action Master: An Interview with Yuen Woo-ping – archival interview by Frédéric Ambroisine

  • At the Service of the Great Magician: An Interview with Fish Fong – interview with assistant director Fish Fong

  • The Shakespeare of Yuen Woo-ping: An Interview with John Kreng

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original poster artwork

  • Stills Gallery

  • Trailer

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

5/5 stars

 Film Details

The Miracle Fighters (1982)

MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content throughout, graphic nudity, language and some drug use.
100 mins
: Woo-Ping Yuen
Peace Group
Yat-Chor Yuen; Ka-Yan Leung; Cheung-Yan Yuen
: Action | Drama

Memorable Movie Quote:
Golden Harvest Company
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 23, 1982 (Hong Kong)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 25, 2024
Synopsis: A condemned Manchurian commander escapes by taking the emperor's boy as hostage. 14 years later, the emperor's evil sorcerer finally learns of his whereabouts, now living with a young man who wears the emperor's boy's jade necklace.


The Miracle Fighters (1982)