movie poster

A Hero Never Dies


Director: Johnnie To

Stars: Leon Lai, Lau Ching-Wan

Two competing gangsters, Martin (Lau) and Jack (Lai), who have a love/hate relationship (they both admire each other but compete tooth-and-nail for various jobs) must eventually team together after a series of plans goes wrong and the two are caught in the middle of a gang war.

Like many new HK gangster movies, A Hero Never Dies takes on a tired old plot and puts a contemporary spin on it. The emphasis here is not on guns or bloodshed (though there is plenty of it in the film), but rather on the relationships between the characters. But rather than pay homage to the "rules" of these relationships as set forth by the "old school" of movies done by directors like John Woo, A Hero Never Dies thumbs its nose at them. AHND points out the idiocy present in blind loyalty and the direct repercussions it can cause. Rather than becoming heroes through their actions, the characters keep digging themselves further into their own personal hell. Even though the ending is fairly upbeat, there is still no feeling that anyone has "won" in the traditional sense of the word. It is exactly this pessimistic (but still slightly hopeful) attitude -- coupled with some excellent directing, cinematography and acting from Lau Ching-Wan -- which makes A Hero Never Dies one of the best HK crime films of the '90s.


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