Hero (1997) 88Films Review By Jamie M MacDonald

Whether you are familiar with the film, or you like the genre and looking for more to discover, Corey Yuen`s HERO is a must for the collection

Ma Wing Jing (Takeshi Kaneshiro) and his elder brother Ma Tai Ceung played by the legend that is Yuen Wah move from Shantung to Shanghai to make their fortune at the end of the Qin Dynasty. Both brothers take a job on the docks, which it controlled by the most powerful triad in the city Tam Sei played by another legend that is Yuen Biao. Tam Sei has a big heart, but runs the city with an iron hand, and has many enemies. Eager to show his amazing fighting skills Wing Jing saves Tam Sei`s life during an altercation with a rival gang, whose leader. As a reward Tam Sei gives Mia Wing Jing his nightclub to run, setting off a chain of events of corrupt police, a love triangle that seems to be only headed for tragedy and betrayal…

This remake of Shaw Brothers classic 1972s The Boxer from Shantung is directed by legendary fight/action chorographer Corey Yuen. From the off, when the two brothers are catching the train during the pre-credit sequence, you know this is going to be one of them rare remakes that work so well. The opening titles have always reminded me of Fist of Fury`s in style, it goes with the old school Kung Fu movie feel of the film. As you`d expect from Corey Yuen and his team it is very well paced, and the action scenes have that high-speed kinetic feel that the 90s did so well. I think in this film like in the original with David Chiang in the role, that Yuen Biao gets a chance to shine in this film, not only with his Kung Fu presence but with his acting as well. Takeshi Kaneshiro is his usual amazing self; he has such strong screen charisma, always truly wonderful to watch. Yuen Wah totally plays against his usual kind of role and his more his brother`s conscious while at times a bit of comedy relieve after some of the heavier scenes. The finale is truly jaw dropping and a must for all action fans out there.

For me is the best old school new Kung Fu film I`ve ever seen, and I`ve adored it since I first bought the DVD from Hong Kong. Now as everyone knows – it is such a good time to be a Hong Kong film fans with so many releases coming to the UK of many Kung Fu films, plus with some it`s not just the UK debut of the film but for some is the very first time it will be released in the UK. 88films seem to be going from strength to strength with more and more release being announced every month. Their release of HERO this year on blu ray is and was a must for me (my DVD of it is letterboxed, looked great on my 4:3 old TV) It does not disappoint and now you can enjoy this film in the best of quality, it is here to be newly discovered and for those diehard fans like me. We are treated to a nice collector Blu Ray – Limited Edition Features include…

Slipcase with brand new artwork from Kung FU Bob O’Brien Collector’s Booklet notes by Andrew Graves. Double-sided foldout Poster: Special Features – HD Master from original 35mm negatives in 1:85:1 Aspect Ratio (seeing this always makes me happy – as I know it`s going to be a great transfer. Which this most definitely is! English LPCM Mono 2.0 – Cantonese LPCM mono with newly translated English Subtitles, Audio Commentary with Mike Leeder and Arne Venema. Hong Kong Trailer, Alternative shots from the Taiwanese Version plus reversible sleeve featuring original Hong Kong Poster artwork.

This is a very nice release from 88films; it is a must for those that are familiar with it and those that are yet to discover this classic of the genre. What are you waiting for? Go and add this Old School, New Kung Fu film to your collection. Whether you are familiar with the film, or you like the genre and looking for more to discover, Corey Yuen`s HERO is a must for the collection… Thank you 88films for releasing this…

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