A Man Called Hero

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

As you know, this is where I usually give a quick synopsis about the film I’m reviewing. In this case, the film takes an unusual path to telling that story and that makes it hard for me to describe what to expect without giving too much away. This film uses flashbacks to recollect much of the story and since I don’t want to spoil any of it for you, I’ll keep this very short and simple. Hero (Ekin Cheng) returns home from a ceremony to discover his parents have been killed. As if that wasn’t enough, whoever murdered them took a family heirloom as well which only adds to Hero’s anger and sadness. The object taken was the Red Sword, which had been in Hero’s family years and served as their most prized material possession. Of course Hero is filled with rage and chooses to exact his revenge on those responsible for the deed. Once he has killed them though, he will be forced to leave his homeland and seek a new life on foreign soil. Even then, can he truly escape the past he seeks to leave behind him?

After seeing the incredible Storm Riders screen adaptation, I was very excited about seeing another comic book story brought to the silver screen, A Man Called Hero. I expected a similar style film as Storm Riders and while that’s not really the case, I’m not that disappointed with this movie. I would have loved to see more special effects sequences and action spots to be sure, but the ones present are top notch so I won’t complain much. But I will say if you want a wall-to-wall action and special effects frenzy, this isn’t the movie for you. Just don’t let that scare you off though, because there is a lot to like with this flick. The production design is very cool and the costumes also look fantastic, so the visual spark is alive and well here. While the storyline sometimes gets a little slow, the visuals are always there to keep you involved which is cool. This movie has some terrific acting from a gifted cast and while the action sequences are infrequent, the ones included are spectacular in scope and impact. The final battle on a famous monument is worth the price of admission alone and I’m sure once you’ve seen it, you’ll agree. I recommend this release as a rental to those interested and the disc is worth the price if you’re looking to add it to your collection.

This film was directed by Andrew Lau, who is not to be confused with the screen star Andy Lau, no matter how close their names are to each other. Lau has experience in the realm of action and fantasy directing and it shows in this film. Along with his crew Lau has conjured up some wonderful sets and locations and I never found a sequence in the film that didn’t supply some type of candy for the eyes. But Lau doesn’t rely on just imagery to dazzle the audience, as he has pulled some solid performances from his very talented cast. So in addition to some well executed special effects and action, you’ll see a nice storyline unfold with some good characters. Not a bad blend if you ask me, not at all. If you want to see more of Lau’s work I recommend The Storm Riders, Best Of The Best, The Mean Street Story, and The Legend Of Speed. Ekin Cheng (Tokyo Raiders, The Storm Riders) is strong in the lead role and handles both action and dialogue scenes without much trouble. I think the show is stolen by the beautiful Shu Qi (Gorgeous, Extreme Crisis) however, as he commands the screen whenever she appears. The rest of the cast includes Francis Ng (Gen-X Cops, Full Alert), Nicholas Tse (Street Angles, Gen-X Cops), Kristy Yang (Comrades: Almost A Love Story), and Grace Yip (Gen-X Cops).

Video: How does it look?

A Man Called Hero is presented in a 2.35:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. This is a very nice transfer on the whole and I could find very little to complain about. Despite the complex and detailed visuals, I found very few instances of compression errors which speaks volumes for the quality of this transfer. The colors are rich and vibrant and show no smears or bleeds, while flesh tones emerge in natural and warm hues. The contrast seems in order also, as shadows look deep and I found no evidence of detail loss in the least. I would have preferred an anamorphic widescreen transfer, but this one is still very impressive.

Audio: How does it sound?

You’ll find Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in Cantonese and Mandarin, both of which provide terrific sounding mixes. The surrounds see some nice action from time to time, but the speakers really kick in when the action heats up of course. I did find a lot of subtle use in the non action scenes though, so this is a well balanced track in all respects. I liked the musical score a lot also, aside from some unusual vocals at times and this mix presents it in a full and expansive fashion. I also found no problems with the dialogue, as it always sounded crisp and clean. You’ll find subtitles in English, Chinese (simplified), and Chinese (traditional).

Supplements: What are the extras?

This release contains three theatrical trailers for the film and a selection of talent files in English and Chinese. The final supplement is a seventeen minute behind the scenes featurette, which showcases interviews, special effects work, and some cool behind the scenes footage also. You can enable English subtitles on this piece, which pleases me to no end.

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