"The Heroic Trio" Commentary
Commentary done between myself (Neil, aka gweilo845) and J.D. Nguyen (XimiousJim) from KFC Cinema on 6/15/02
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When you see the speaker icon, click on it to hear some sounds.
gweilo845: So what do you think of this movie? I think it is great.
XimiousJim: Oh yeah, it's totally amazing. I mean, what better way to showcase three of Asia's biggest actresses than by having them dress up in skimpy super hero costumes and run around?
gweilo845: I know, it's genius! Any one who doesn't have fun with this movie has a stick up their ass. Anita Mui's theme is great. Usually I don't like Cantopop, but that was good.
XimiousJim: Yeah, yeah, music's great when you're introducing a film with exposition like babies being kidnapped!
gweilo845: Anita Mui's husband in this was in a bunch of oldschool kungfu movies.
XimiousJim: Oh yeah? I don't recognize him, what's he been in?
gweilo845: I forget offhand.
I wonder why I couldn't remember that...
XimiousJim: How about that guy with the big glasses? I'm sure he's a Shaw brothers superstar from way back when.
gweilo845: I think that is actually Ching Siu-Tung. Anita's husband is Damian Lau. He was in "Duel to the Death".
XimiousJim: Hey, wasn't the guy trying to steal the husband's car in all those Stephen Chow films?
gweilo845: Yeah, that is Lau Kar-Ying.
XimiousJim: Ah man, gotta love that guy! The set design is interesting in this, very grey and minimalistic. Makes you think art direction is lost in this post-apocalyptic future.
gweilo845: It's got a good comic book look. Actually, they shot some of this in the same abandoned factory used for the hospital in "Hard Boiled".
XimiousJim: Oh yeah? Wow, never saw the comparisons. I guess when you throw babies in the mix, you gotta pay homage to "Hard Boiled".
gweilo845: Well, it was just more of a matter of finances. But I guess if you look at it like that, you could read some symbolism into the whole babies thing.
XimiousJim: I love the costumes in this, capes and masks and all that. You kind of forget that there is such thing as a "comic book" sensibility in Hong Kong films, since they are usually so "fantasy" driven.
Cost of cheap mask: 50 cents. Cost of wires: 5 bucks. Being able to look like you can beat ass without breaking a nail: priceless.
gweilo845: They don't really have "super heroes" like we do in the States, so movies like this stand out. The costume design is really good. The special effects are crappy, but the nuts and bolts look good, so that offsets it.
XimiousJim: God, I forgot Anthony Wong is in this!
gweilo845: One of his best roles, especially when he eats his finger! And then they put him in a wig and mask and have him play the villain in part two. Only in Hong Kong.
XimiousJim: Yeah, the same place where Chow Yun-Fat dies in "A Better Tomorrow", but comes back in the sequel as his twin fucking brother from the States!
gweilo845: That was pretty bad. Now that I am watching this again, there is definitely a subtext about the handover in this movie.
gweilo845: The handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997. The evil emperor in the underground could represent China.
XimiousJim: Ahhhh, I see. I really like the scene where the little kids are blowing bubbles as Anita Mui walks up the steps.
gweilo845: That is simple but effective. It kind of foreshadows the kind of techniques Johnnie To would use more often later.
XimiousJim: Yeah, I have always been a fan of Johnnie To. Actually, I just saw "The Longest Nite" last night. His visual style is really unmatched.
gweilo845: I haven't seen that, but his visual style is brilliant. Even in more "normal" movies like "Fulltime Killer", his films look great.
XimiousJim: "Fulltime Killer" is great!
If you ever really want to annoy your friends, drink lots of Jagermeister and run around saying this.
XimiousJim: Oh man, this is where Maggie Cheung appears. I love her. And this is the best damn scene in the movie!
gweilo845: She looks great in this movie. She always looks really good, but I mean you have her in leather! It's almost as good as the catsuit from "Irma Vep", which references this movie a lot.
XimiousJim: She's almost so ridiculous in this film, but damn, when you have her in daisy dukes and kneepads, what can ya say?
gweilo845: It's just over the top enough to be effective. Maggie plays the character perfectly I think, so that helps.
XimiousJim: Actually, those goggles gotta go.
Joan Rivers would probably agree that ski goggles are a fashion no-no. But they would probably be a good fit for her so we wouldn't have to look at so much of her ugly old face-lifted grill.
Joan doesn't seem to agree with my assessment. Hey Joan! Lay off the vodka and Lucky Strikes.
gweilo845: Well, when you're riding flying barrels around, I would guess some kind of eye protection would be good.
XimiousJim: True dat, but still, she's a super hero, and they always stay young and beautiful.
gweilo845: Still, the costumes in here are better than in "X-Men".
XimiousJim: I'll give ya that! But you have to admit, Rebeca Romijn-Stamos' costume was banging.
gweilo845: Yeah, now that was good. Boobies are always good.
XimiousJim: Most definitely, it's interesting that with Anita's Mui's fashion sense that she should tuck in her bra underneath her shirt.
gweilo845: Ah yes, the finer points of women's undergarments in Hong Kong cinema.
Anita catches J.D. peeking at her cleavage.
XimiousJim: Damn, I really can't get enough of Maggie here! But once again, those goggles are a fashion faux paux.
gweilo845: You're just obsessed with those goggles!
XimiousJim: I want to see her eyes! Those beautiful eyes! Hey, did you hear recently that Maggie and her French husband got a divorce?
gweilo845: Yeah. She probably wanted him to bathe more. No more cologne showers. Acutally, the rumor is that she was "seeing" Tony Leung.
XimiousJim: Oh really? That's pretty interesting, Tony's a great guy and all, but he seems like one of those asexual actors, 'cause I can't imagine him macking on chicks for some reason.
gweilo845: Yeah, well, he has been with Carina Lau for like 10 years, so I don't see it either. Anyway, this is a good fight for two non-martial artists. Ching Siu-Tung's wires can work wonders.
XimiousJim: Ha ha, only in Hong Kong can you have invisible fight choreography.
gweilo845: And it's still better than any Steven Seagal movie.
"You gonna eat that?"
XimiousJim: Yeah, for being a non-martial artist, Anita Mui is in a lot of martial arts films. Isn't she like the lead actress in every other Jackie Chan film?
gweilo845: She was in just three... her and Jackie were rumored to be a couple for a while.
XimiousJim: Jackie's been a couple with everyone, damn that funny man. I can't believe they killed a baby in here!
gweilo845: Only in Hong Kong! US movies never show kids getting hurt. They should have killed that kid from "Rumble in the Bronx"! "Where's my cushion?"
XimiousJim: I particularly like the character design of the Evil Master, with the large horns and stuff. This setting reminds me very much of Ronny Yu's art direction from "The Bride with White Hair", so surreal.
gweilo845: Yeah, Ronny Yu is another director with a great style, he even made Chucky look cool. He's actually doing the "Freddy vs Jason" movie, so that might actually be good.
XimiousJim: I heard of that, too. "Warriors of Virtue" is one of the gems that many people passed up. I always I never though Michelle Yeoh was attractive at all, but this scene of her in the red dress is outrageous! She's killing me.
I want to give the Bill Clinton treatment to that dress.
gweilo845: I think because most of her movies tend to make her asexual. There is actually some romance in this one.
XimiousJim: I can't wait to see her in "The Touch". I think it's the film that is gonna give her some American credit. Gotta love Anthony Wong, he's so cool and goofy at the same time with those extreme facial expressions.
gweilo845: This was back when he actually seemed to care about acting. Now he just always looks as if he's got a mouthful of dumplings.
XimiousJim: Yeah, he's a slob in "The Mission".
gweilo845: Well, now it just seems as if he's just reading lines off of cue cards. He hasn't done anything good for several years now. I want to get some of those deadly needles and throw them at my boss.
XimiousJim: Slow-mo maggie on a bike... great stuff, I tell you, almost ingenious. And that baby is waaaaaaaay fake! It's like they didn't even try.
gweilo845: No, it's a doll on that part, Anita says so.
XimiousJim: You think it's just the English translation, or are their super hero names that retarded?
gweilo845: I think they just do literal translations. I mean, they couldn't have purposely used Wonder Woman I think.
But you never know. Of course, when I try to say "where's the bathroom" in Chinese it probably sounds like "I like to crap in my hand".
XimiousJim: Here's the "Flying Guillotine" homage. Oh god, does he die from the mine? I forget, I'm about to cry.
gweilo845: Anthony's weapon here is great!
XimiousJim: Yeah baby, the spinning motorcycle. This fight scene between Anthony and Anita sure is cool!
gweilo845: Ching Siu-Tung is a genius. I'm surprised no US movie has tried to use him yet.
XimiousJim: "Superman" reference right here with stopping the train. Errr... not stopping the train.
gweilo845: Heh, I see your point though.
XimiousJim: No more booty for Anita. The mine took away his manhood. Tears in the hand, symbolism at its finest.
gweilo845: If someone is going to die, they take tears and then they take a part of that person with them to the afterlife in Chinese culture.
XimiousJim: Ahh really? That scene is even more touching than I had originally realized.
gweilo845: Why is it that if someone has cancer they always bleed through the nose. "Fulltime Killer", "Return to a Better Tomorrow" and other movies have that. But you know it's the end of the second act, because everyone is dying.
XimiousJim: I don't know, didn't Andy Lau have something else in "Fulltime Killer", and didn't he foam at the mouth? In any case, you're right, everyone bleeds through their noses for some reason.
gweilo845: You know for a "comic book" movie there is a lot of spurting blood. This isn't the PG13 kind of stuff US comic book movies are.
XimiousJim: Thank god for rated R comic films like "Blade". You got pools of blood and everything.
gweilo845: Yeah that was good, but they don't have cannibalistic kids!
XimiousJim: No, of course not... or even babies falling from five-story hospital buildings. You know, even though I've seen this a million times, I keep on hoping for a "Heroic Trio" shower scene.
I'm afraid this would be the only way to see that shower scene.
XimiousJim: This fight scene is great, is this really them?
gweilo845: I'm sure they were doubled some, but in Hong Kong, actors are expected to do a lot more than in the US.
XimiousJim: Chicks on horses... man, this film never ceases to amaze me! I never noticed how red Michelle Yeoh's costume was. For being an invisible woman, she sure is conspicuous. Oh yeah, dramatic irony, Maggie as the sister they never had to rescue the both of them.
gweilo845: Well, this movie is kind of set in a post-nuclear war world ala "Road Warrior" kind of future, which explains the horses. I can't explain Michelle's outfit though. And I am just touched by the humanity! Of course, right after that you get a shot of someone strung up and bloody.
XimiousJim: You know, having seen the sequel, it makes me sad knowing what happens to Michelle Yeoh's character in the end.
gweilo845: Seeing the sequel just makes me sad. What a disappointment.
XimiousJim: I would have loved it to have been a series. Maybe a couple of ones, this could have been a great franchise. Could you imagine a Thief Catcher doll? I can!
gweilo845: Yeah, it would have been cool. I don't think Maggie likes doing this kind of movie, though.
XimiousJim: It's too bad, 'cause I was hoping to see her in "Avenging Fist 2". Damn, did Anthony Wong die already?
XimiousJim: God, all the males are dying! Where is freaking secret hideout that the Evil Master resides in?
gweilo845: I don't know. Evil masters and geniuses always have these big ass lairs that they manage to hide somewhere.
XimiousJim: Yes, and only in Hong Kong will you see little children pee themselves.
gweilo845: Now that is something we really didn't need to see.
Can't you just feel the love?
XimiousJim: I dig this last fight scene too. Pretty ambitious with a lot of swordplay and gunplay.
gweilo845: Well any HK movie, even the real cheap ones, usually have a kickass end fight scene.
XimiousJim: Oooh... it seems like the Evil Master lives in the sewer! HAPPY NEW YEAR! That's the best line from Maggie.
gweilo845: Hong Kong must have some big ass sewers then. Here in Minnesota, there's a story every year about some fat kid getting stuck in a manhole or sewer drain.
The Magster gives us her opinion of Minnesota.
XimiousJim: Hahaha, that's classic! I wish I had a fat kid in the manhole story, then I'd be complete. Dude I think the Evil Master just used the force on them. Gotta love the CG lightning.
gweilo845: "You will come to the dark side my young apprentice."
XimiousJim: Oh shit, it's the Terminator.
gweilo845: A REALLY obvious Terminator ripoff. Even down to the walking out of the fire.
XimiousJim: Yeah yeah yeah, man, what a way to take over someone's body.
gweilo845: This part reminds me of "Evil Dead", it's just so bizarre but still good.
XimiousJim: Yeah, too bad they didn't have a tree raping scene in here.
gweilo845: Well, that would be in the porn version with the aforementioned shower scene.
XimiousJim: Right, right. The throbbing brain makes me nauseous.
gweilo845: It reminds me of what I just ate at Old Country Buffet. Now I am going to be sick.
It's just kind of sad, really. These people are actually looking forward to sitting at the trough of OCB. Here's a tip: when a restaruant's nickname is "Old Cunt", it's best to stay away.
XimiousJim: Ah, the finale, I was getting worred. Dramatic John Woo cloak-wearing glory walk. I'd be laughing if I was the cinematographer.
gweilo845: A fine way to wrap up this movie. Any closing thoughts?
XimiousJim: Hmmm, I wish there were more shower scenes... but the film is great, I remember when I first saw it many years ago I had a blast. But now it's only got shlock value now. It's so ridiculous and zany that somehow you're smiling all the way through. How about yourself?
gweilo845: Yes, a shower scene would have been good, but otherwise this is still a fun movie. This is cheesy but it doesn't take itself too seriously and I think more movies need to try that.
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