While most notable for their martial arts epics the Asian market delivers a wide variety of films just like every other film market. All of their films seem to take a seemingly simple subject and give it a new twist in various ways. Their latest The Great Magician takes on the world of magic, but throws it into a period piece, but does it have enough mystery and intrigue to deliver a memorable performance or will it disappear without a trace?
The Great Magician follows stranger who returns from aboard with a mastery of magic and thrust into a world of betrayal, war, lust, and revolution. But when the worlds of war and magic collide who is tricking whom and who will win at the end? The story here is really interesting containing just enough twists and turns along with some well executed magic to keep the audience entertained on numerous levels. The magic stuff done in the film works really well, with some of it obviously CGI, but the actual tricks they do are well executed and big props to those that learned to deliver them so accurately. This film is full of some strange and interesting characters but not in the way you may think. These are pretty normal characters, but their behavior is all over the place. One moment they are pretty normal and take a somewhat serious tone, but then they shift into almost cartoon like behavior. It seems as though the film is meant to play somewhat like a comedy, but never really fully commits. Much like a lot of these films there are some aspects lost in translation as you don’t always get the full feeling of their performance.
This is one of those movies that will baffle the viewer a bit just due to the strangeness of it all, but is still pretty entertaining. It was a fresh idea and something different that was a joy to watch. You will enjoy this movie more if you just go in and let the magic take hold and have a good time.