Director: Corey Yuen
Stars: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Yuen Biao, Valerie Chow, Suen Huen, Yuen Wah, Yuen Tak, Corey Yuen
Takeshi Kaneshiro plays a refugee who comes to Shanghai along with his brother Yuen Wah (in a rare "good guy" role) with dreams of making it big. The brothers quickly find out Shanghai isn't all it's cracked up to be, as they are delegated to working menial jobs on the local docks. However, after impressing a local crime boss (Yuen Biao) with his martial arts skills, Takeshi finds the world opened up to him -- if only he will commit to becoming a Triad.
The plot here won't really impress too many Westerners -- one might think that the conflicts derived in the movie, most notably traditional (Mandarin) versus modern (Cantonese) values, would carry more weight if they were versed before hand in the culture. The script also meanders about, with a lot of screen time given to Takeshi's romantic exploits. Even though the acting in these scenes is actually quite good (and touching in parts), they seem to take away from the story proper.
However, the action sequences in Hero are so extraordinary, a viewer starved for martial arts mayhem would do well to forgive the movie's melodramatic shortcomings for the sake of the great fight scenes present here. Yuen Biao -- one of the most under-rated martial artists in Hong Kong (at least to Westerners) -- has never looked better, and Takeshi Kaneshiro also manages to impress with his moves here. Overall, Hero is a rock-solid action film that manages to deliver some pathos along with the punching.
A review of the DVD for this movie can be found here
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This DVD is available for purchase at www.hkflix.com