Follow TV Tropes


Film / The Magic Crane

Go To

The Magic Crane is a 1993 Wuxia film starring Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Anita Mui (from Moon Warriors) and Rosamund Kwan (Once Upon a Time in China). It is loosely based on the novel of the same name by Wolong Sheng.

Ma Kwun-Mo (Tony Leung), a swordsman and initiate, had a fateful encounter with a mysterious beauty, Pak Wan-fai (Anita Mui) who rides a giant crane and plays a magical flute. Eager to discover more about her, Ma ends up being thrown into an epic martial arts battle involving Pak's estranged sister Butterfly who uses a magical killer pipa, poisonous vampire bats, a giant fire-breathing tortoise, an all-powerful warlord who wants to destroy the martial arts world, and an ancient bell which can grant its user lightning powers.

Notably one of Tony Leung's few ventures into the world of wuxia in the early 90s, besides Butterfly and Sword, Ashes of Time and the third A Chinese Ghost Story.

Contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Maís sword, which cuts a wooden pole into half with one swing.
  • A Boy and His X: A girl and her giant, magical crane.
  • Accidental Kiss: Constantly happens to Ma during the dye factory battle while he is being dragged around while tangled by spools of silk. Kissing random extras? Eww. But kissing Pak Wan-fai? Sweet!
  • Attack Animal: The magic crane fulfills this trope if and only if Violence is the Only Option. Otherwise itís a rather peaceful animal.
  • Avian Flute: The arrival of the titular crane is heralded by the sound of flute music, being played by its rider and handler, Wan-fai.
  • Bat Out of Hell: In the first scene, several warriors are killed by a flock of deadly vampire bats. And partway through the movie, thereís a battle between the magic crane and a giant, bloodsucking giant vampire bat.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Ma, Butterfly, and Pak Wan-fai ALL suffers this fate in the aftermath of their battle against General Tsao Hung, but in an unusual example they all survive the battle.
  • Body Horror: General Tsao, after being completely overwhelmed by the Bell of Doomís immense power, had his entire body becoming deformed and rotting away, his face cracking up, and his limbs distorting away.
  • Catch a Falling Star: How Ma and the titular crane meets each other, when the crane catches Maís horse as it falls off a cliff.
  • Cloth Fu: Pak Wan-fai using the silk in the dye factory as a form of Improvised Weapon, skillfully using them to beat up and dispatch loads of thugs.
  • Duet of Differences: Between Pak Wan-fai and her flute, and Butterfly Lamís pipa. The overwhelming power of their instruments end up nearly destroying the boat they are on.
  • Ethereal White Dress: Pak Wan-faiís completely white robes, reflecting her magical nature.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: The Funeral Bell of Doom, the most powerful weapon in the movie, whose booming vibration can vaporize its targets. The climax had Butterfly and Pak Wan-fai using their own respective instruments to battle this deadly new weapon.
  • Giant Flyer: The titular crane, which is Pak Wan-faiís personal steed, imagine a Chinese equivalent of a Arabic Roc. However, it is aÖ
  • Gentle Giant: The magic crane is as harmless as it gets.
  • Instrumental Weapon: Pak Wan-faiís magic flute and Butterfly Lamís enchanted pipa both turns out to have offensive, powerful abilities that can damage their opponents. Especially Pak Wan-faiís flute, which causes Big Bad General Tsao to explode into pieces.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Big Bad General Tsao Hungís fate, being overwhelmed by the melody of Pak Wan-faiís magic flute and blowing up into giblets.
  • Magical Flutist: Pak Wan-faiís magic flute which summons the titular crane.
  • Off with His Head!: General Tsao Hungís fight with the two warriors in his first scene had both warriors ending up headless.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Between the two Action Girl leads. Butterfly is the red, and Pak Wan-fai is the blue.
  • Shock and Awe: General Tsao Hung inexplicably gains electrical-based attacks and lightning powers from the Bell of Doom, which is probably worth it since this happens after the Body Horror example above.
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: Ma, despite being a swordsman and perfectly capable of kicking loads and loads of ass, ends the movie without killing anybody.
  • Wind from Beneath My Wings: The crane can create powerful gusts of wind with its wings, which it demonstrates while battling the flock of vampire bats.
  • Wire Fu