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Hero
AKA: Ma Wing-Jing
Takeshi Kaneshiro as Ma Wing-Jing
Year: 1997
Director: Corey Yuen Kwai
Writer: Corey Yuen Kwai, Kei On
Cast: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Yuen Biao, Valerie Chow Kar-Ling, Jessica Suen Huen, Yuen Wah, Corey Yuen Kwai, Yuen Tak
The Skinny: Excellent action highlights this uneven martial arts flick with more than a bit of comedy thrown in. Not a great film per se, but a terrific movie.
Review
by Kozo:
     This surprisingly decent turn-of-the-century gangster flick finds Takeshi Kaneshiro as Ma Wing-Jing, a young guy who moves up the triad ladder thanks to his charisma and considerable kung-fu skills. Yuen Biao is the established boss who befriends him. However, the two have a common enemy in the back-stabbing rival boss Yuen Tak and femme fatale Valerie Chow. Eventually, our two heroes must redeem themselves after they’re both been taken down by the scheming baddies. Along for the ride is Yuen Wah as Takeshi’s brother, Jessica Suen as Takeshi’s true love, and Corey Yuen himself as Jessica’s dad. 
     The film sags a bit midway as the drama becomes boring rather than compelling, but Corey Yuen’s action sequences are terrific, including some good fights and a great end battle with some two gun action from Takeshi Kaneshiro. He succeeds in his first action role, which includes doing his own kung-fu and stunts. There are some brief HK wacky moments (one specific moment is inexcusable) but not much. This film is a well-meaning, if not earth-shattering piece of entertainment. The great action and good presence from the stars overcomes the essential unoriginality of this film. It’s totally unexpected, but this is a decent piece of HK entertainment. A minor accomplishment. Anita Mui sings the ending credits song.
(Kozo 1997)
Notes: • The HK DVD from Universe is horribly edited, removing some of the film’s most gory - and crucial - violence. If you can find a laserdisc, then go with that. Otherwise, the Deltamac DVD from Taiwan is fine, too. It’s only drawback is Mandarin-only audio, but this was a dubbed production so no one suffers.
• IVL is re-releasing Hero as part of their Shaw Brothers collection. At this time, it is unknown if the DVD will contain the cut or uncut version of the film.
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Intercontinental Video, Ltd.
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd.

   
   
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