Review-Magicians are a hard sell to me, unless you are played by Daniel Radcliffe and sold a billion books before hitting the big screen. I remember when the dual of magician movies hit the theater with The Prestige and The Illusionist, and at that point I really had my fill of these kinds of films. I know right now we look to be getting a few more magician films with the Jim Carrey vehicle and this film The Great Magician. This film is also a period piece like most of these are, and takes place on the streets of Beijing in the early to mid-1920â€™s. It seems like the best and most talented people have gathered to show off their talents and skills. We learn that they are also in territorial feuds between warlords and there is one named Lei who is known as Bully who uses the mentalist skills of this butler to recruit people. Lei is infatuated with a beautiful young acrobat named Yin. He has captured her and is trying to make her fall for him or at least be impressed with him. When Zhang Xian arrives in Beijing to stage his magic shows, Bully seeks his help to impress Yin.
To me, if you have seen any magic film I talked about earlier, I am not so sure if you are going to want to see this as well, unless you want to see those stories retold somewhat with martial arts added. Now, if you are obsessed with the world of magic and do not mind the period piece of Beijing in the 20â€™s, you may be the person I am talking to with this review. To me, you get some decent martial arts and the mix with magic, and some really smart visual effects that were done very tastefully and respectfully to the genre and would make fans smile. My dislike is that the story just felt so similar even though there are so many elements that are different, it felt like the bulk of this film I have seen before, and I am just not a fan of magic. This film tries so hard to create the time of spectator-ship and an era when illusion was such a major deal. Some of the magic I felt was cheesy and took away the mystery of the skill.
I loved the look and feel of this film; I thought they captured the era and location perfectly. I thought the characters were very well done, and the roles were truly well acted, I mean this film keeps you guessing peopleâ€™s intentions till the end of the film. My issue is the material which I was not a fan of, and some of the action sequences in this film were so lacking and the lure of magic, I felt is a cheat to fans who will want to see some well displayed magic. Maybe a rental if you are a magic fan, if you are not a fan of magic, you already knows to skip it.
4.5 out of 10