review by Jerome

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An all over the place movie that sometimes work!
Andrew Lau’s second film adaptation of Ma Wing Sing’s comics pays the way for A Man Called Hero. With the success of his previous work, The Storm Riders, Lau successfully pairs Ekin Cheng and Kristy Yeung as husband and wife.

Hero Hua (Ekin Cheng), inherits the Red Sword from his mother (Cheng Pei Pei) and goes off to learn martial arts with Sheng (Jerry Lam) from Master Pride (Anthony Wong). After he is accepted into Master Pride’s school, he returns home only to find his parents killed by foreigners. In a fit or rage, he travels to the foreigner’s place and kills them. Witnessed by Bigot (Elvis Tsui), Hero returns home to Jade (Kristy Yeung), fulfils her wish to have his child and then leaves for America.

Without giving too much away, what ensures is series of flashbacks told by various people who have encountered Hero Hua, when Sheng (Jerry Lam) and Sword (Nic Tse) come to America to search for him, two decades later?

Yuen Biao’s character Yuen Mo is the owner of the China House and is central in helping the many Chinese labourers mistreated at Steel Bull Canyon, a place where Hero was last seen.

Hero Hua learns the truth about why the people he gets close to suddenly die. In a fortune telling, he is told that he was born under the star of death and is destined to live his life alone. As can be seen throughout the film, it partially explains why Master Pride (Anthony Wong) dies, Jade (Kristy Yeung) dies giving birth to Sword and his daughter who we never see. If Hero is to ever be reunited with his daughter, he must die in the process. It also explains why he cannot be close to Sword, because he has lost so much. It is apparent in the final climatic battle between Invincible (Francis Ng), the martial arts brother of Master Pride whom possessed the China Secret, that Hero spent all his time away from his son to practice the China Secret in preparation for their duel.

A great blend of CGI and wire kung fu, with adequate plot, which occasionally suffers from wondering whether the events shown are actually occurring in the past or the present. All prints of the film are cut, so unfortunately we cannot see the theatrical release as the director intended.

I rate it 7.5/10

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Genre: Swordplay / Action
Director: Director: Andrew Lau
Cast: Ekin Cheng, Kristy Yeung, Cheng Pei Pei, Dion Lam, Mark Cheng, Sam Lee, Shu Qi, Anthony Wong, Grace Yip, Jude Poyer, Yuen Biao, Nic Tse, Jerry Lam, Elvis Tsui, Ken Low, Francis Ng.
Reviewed by Jerome (Bart Simpson), October 2005