HERO (Ma Yong Zhen)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound format: Mono
Corey Yuen's period adventure HERO marked an impressive return to the action movie fold by Shaw Brothers, following a long period in which the studio had concentrated almost exclusively on TV production. A remake of the Chang Cheh classic BOXER FROM SHANTUNG (1972), HERO follows the adventures of a courageous country boy (Takeshi Kaneshiro) who flees rural poverty and relocates to Shanghai circa 1911, where his impressive fighting skills bring him to the attention of a benevolent gangster (Yuen Biao) who agrees to mentor him. Thus emboldened, Kaneshiro rises through the ranks of the criminal underworld, until he's challenged by a powerful rival (Yuen Tak) who plots against him. Tragedy ensues.
The concept is old-fashioned, but director Yuen energizes proceedings with New Wave fervor, employing thousands of extras in a bid to recreate the majesty of old Shanghai, whilst filming the combat sequences in a defiantly modern manner, pitting hordes of axe-wielding assailants against lone protagonists who are forced to use acrobatic manoeuvres and everyday objects to fend off a potentially horrific death. Yuen's script (co-written with Kay On) is eventful and melodramatic, and the sweeping visuals (by cinematographer Tom Lau) are further highlighted by a sumptuous music score, co-written by William Hu, Raymond Wong and Lincoln Lo. But while the film delivers on action and spectacle, it fails to establish the characters as anything more than stock figures, which essentially limits the narrative's dramatic impact. For all that, however, the performances are uniformly excellent, and HERO's all-star cast is divided squarely into the beautiful (Kaneshiro, Valerie Chow, Jessica Hester), the bold (Yuen Biao at his most virtuous), and the beastly (Yuen Tak as the villain, lacking only a top hat, cloak and twirly moustache).
NB. Shot in mainland China, the film was consequently subject to strict Chinese censorship laws which curtailed some of the gorier violence (a Shaw Brothers trademark). These scenes weren't restored for the HK theatrical/video release, though a more complete version turned up later on DVD in the UK.
Action / Drama
Action / Drama
Ma Wing Jing and his older brother Ma Tai Chueng arrive in Shanghai to make their fortune at the end of the Qin Dynasty. Be-friending a powerful mobster (Tam Sei) Wing Jing is given his nightclub in return for saving Tam Sei's life. Unfortunately, another Gangster wants the territory a well. Corruption and violence rule the streets as Wing Jing and Tam Sei must battle not only the rival gangs but the corrupt police officials as well. —R. L. Strong
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
October 05, 2021 at 03:20 AM