現代豪俠傳 (1993)

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 04/04/2006
Summary: Very disappointing

The original Heroic Trio was bright, energetic, great fun, and too short. Executioners is EXTREMELY depressing, downbeat, very little fun, and much too long.

Reviewer Score: 2

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 01/11/2006

This is an atrociously made movie, bordering on inept and is only worth watching because....well, there must be some reason for watching it, since I just finished it. Among its attributes, none completely positive are:

The three female leads—each a beautiful and talented actress but none of them show any reason why they are or were Hong Kong cinema royalty. To say they phoned in their performances would be to insult the Cable & Wireless Company.

Anthony Wong gives a master class on overacting. Dressed in a foppish costume, made up to look like his face had been pan fried and with a mask that doesn’t cover his deformity Wong responded like a trouper and chewed up the scenery.

Which must not have been terribly difficult since so much of the set was astoundingly cheap looking, including bricks that bounced and a wall that shook when Maggie Cheung scraped it with a knife.

Takeshi Kaneshiro looked like he stepped out of a Biblical epic—an East Asian John the Baptist perhaps. Which make sense because he suffered the same fate as John the Baptist although his head wound up in a velvet box instead of a platter and was kissed by Anthony Wong instead of Salome. His long white robe, gold sash and almost flowing locks (the hair gel budget for “Executioners” must have been substantial) combined with his chiseled good looks would have been perfect opposite Jeffrey Hunter in “King of Kings”.

Michelle Yeoh is not only totally defeated but dismembered. One of her arms is torn off and her opponent puts his fist completely through her body. Not exactly “Wing Chun”.

Anita Mui, while in prison, realizes that her food has been poisoned—actually everyone’s food has been poisoned but she keeps that info to herself and lets the rest of the inmates die—and get nourishment by squeezing the blood from a live mouse and letting it drip into her mouth. Most of it runs down her chin.

Lau Ching-Wan dies during what might be the most unrealistic underwater scene ever put on film. He begins the scene by telling Maggie Cheung that he can’t swim, then he and Maggie jump into the water still wearing their topcoats and shoes. He doesn’t drown but is crushed to death by a huge set of mechanical jaws which operate so slowly that he has time to position himself under them and wait for the jaws to shut.

There is one memorable charater, Kau who is a combination of the Elephant Man, the Hunchback of Notre Dame (the Spencer Tracy version) and the Gimp from “Pulp Fiction”. He is a hooded monster—uncredited in the database—who is Michelle Yeoh’s sidekick/muscle/pet.

There are a few instances which would lead one to look for a Sapphic sensibility in “Executioners”, but they aren’t developed. The male consort of each of the reluctant superheroes is killed off—Michelle’s Kau dies while saving the President, Maggie Cheung’s Tak drowns, Anita Miu’s Commissioner gets blown up. This would not be enough in itself but when paired with a scene that is one of the most egregious cases imaginable of a lost opportunity it shows where the movie could have gone. The scene in question has all three of the women taking a bubble bath in a huge tub and even playing a bit of slap and tickle. The exploitation possibilities (which would never happen, of course) makes the senses reel and the mind boggle.

This potential theme is touched upon and abandoned. Other ideas are brought up and then lost in the confusion of the plot, not developed or simply forgotten about. Although set in a post-apocalyptic ruin it misses every chance to comment on how society is hurtling toward the precipice. The Clean Water Corporation could represent worldwide capitalism or the People’s Republic but winds up not representing anything at all.

The crowd scenes are very uncrowded, almost as if Johnny To or Tony Ching or whoever directed them didn’t know how to fill the screen people. The action scenes are mediocre—Michelle Yeoh has one early on when she jumps out of the cab of a moving truck to thwart a would be hijacker. It was one of those automatic pilot trucks that stay on the road while the driver is on the roof fighting. There is also a decent swordfight between the Colonel—whose uniform would not look out of place on a Tin Soldier in “The Nutcracker”—and Anita Mui that lasted about about five seconds but the action generally was poorly staged.

If it weren’t for such a horrible waste of a talented cast “Executioners might be a movie that is so bad it is good—or at least good enough for midnight screenings in college towns. But since everyone involved must have been having a bad bunch of days—or had left their “A” game on the set of “The Heroic Trio” it is simply terrible. Not something that Johnny To would highlight on his resume.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/26/2003

Taking place some years after the original Heroic Trio where nuclear war has rendered Hong Kong's water undrinkable save for a small source kept by the evil Mr. Kim (Wong), Executioners once again reunites the trio of Wonder Woman (Mui), Thief Catcher (Cheung) and Invisible Woman (Yeoh) as they team up to find a source of clean water.

Even though Heroic Trio and Executioners were both shot at the same time, they have a radically different feel to them. While Heroic Trio was a fast, breezy and ultimately very enjoyable action/martial arts movie, Executioners is a dark, depressing film that has little going for it. One of the main problems is that there is no chemistry between the characters. The trio spend most of the film apart (save for the beginning and the end); instead the three spend their time in separate sequences. Thief Catcher teams with an Indiana Jones-esque Lau Ching-Wan to find the water, Wonder Woman is thrown into a prison/sanitorium, and Invisible Woman (who, strangely, isn't invisible but still uses the name) virtually (pardon the pun) disappears for most of the film as she goes off to look for a wanted criminal.

Losing the interaction between the leads lost a lot of the interest for me. The actors are good enough on their own, but worked so well together in Heroic Trio I was more than a bit disappointed. Anthony Wong makes an okay villain, but since he was in Heroic Trio as a totally different character, in Executioners he has to go through the whole movie wearing a silly mask, which seems to inhibit his performance.

All this might have been forgivable if the fights were good, but frankly, they're not. First off, there's not nearly enough of it. The movie is only about 90 minutes long, but seems a whole lot longer because there's just so much damn talking -- at times the film seems like it's trying to be a serious social drama or romance. Genre mixing is to be expected in HK films, but usually it's pulled off better than this. There were many times when I contemplated hitting the fast-forward button, something which has never crossed my mind while watching a Michelle Yeoh movie before. Getting back to the fighting, the scenes that are in there just seem uninspired. Maybe the long process of shooting two films got to the actors -- I don't know. They just look very tired and it shows in the fighting sequences.

Judging from other reviews, some people really enjoyed Executioners. But I didn't. It's not the worst movie I've seen (it's probably good just to watch it just for the eye candy of the three leads than anything else), but compared to the fantastic Heroic Trio, Executioners simply pales by comparison. It's probably worth at least a rental, but don't expect too much.

Reviewed by: Wu'xiaBadger
Date: 01/16/2003
Summary: Fairly decent sequel

I think I would have liked this more if I had not seen "Heroic Trio" immediatly before watching it. Not that this is a bad movie, but "Trio" is so frigging good that it would've been tough for ANYTHING to measure up against it. This is also a To effort, and with Siu-Tung doing the fight scenes, it just should have been better.
That aside, this would be a good film to see BEFORE watching "Trio." It would maybe be a little more confusing, but not so dissapointing. Lau Ching- Wan, Anthony Wong, Eddy Ko, Takeshi Kaneshiro AND the three lovely ladies make up the stellar cast, but none are used as well as they could have been. Also, while the tone is darker this time around, I found the fight sequences to be less violent and original than in "Trio". So I'll give it 6/10.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 04/18/2002
Summary: Excellent movie

I can honestly say that I ALMOST like this as much as the Heroic Trio. And that's saying this movie is excellent, because the Heroic Trio happens to be one of my favorites. I love this film because it has the melodramatic and serious elements that have always worked for me. It's not a "cool" movie, or an "awesome" movie or a "FUN" movie, or an "entertaining" one, or a "FEEL-GOOD" movie. Rather, it SERIOUSLY portrays the horrific effects of a disturbing world. It is perhaps a dystopian film. Some very touching and emotional moments, mixed with great action (which are more or less on par with Heroic Trio, but it just works better here), lots of violence and gore (which I dislike, but for some reason works here too), and fine acting. This really is one of my favorite films.

Note that 90% of the music is straight out of the Heroic Trio (which REALLY works for me because I love those cathy tunes), and nearly everybody dies. ******SPOILER**********
Damien Lau dies, Michelle Yeoh dies, Lau Ching Wan dies, Takeshi Kaneshiro dies, Paul Chun Pui dies, and of course Anthony Wong the absolutely ugly villain gets blown up.

Overall, it might not have been as good as I liked it, but every elements in this movie just appealed to me.


Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 03/09/2002
Summary: Heroic trio's 2

OH it's bad. I didn't like the first one, and this is not much better. What a waste of Lau Ching Wan and Takeshi Kaneshiro. There roles are just so small. Action was ok as i remember but like most of the other reviews, disappointed.


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/12/2002
Summary: Not very good

I had high expections of this, it was advertised as the 3 favorite HK actresses working together, but it's a load of rubbish.

Rating: 2/5
(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)

Reviewed by: TequilaYuen
Date: 06/11/2000
Summary: I tried to like it!

Lemme start off by saying that I really did want to like this film. I loved the pop art Heroic Trio and all it's silliness, but this film just fell so flat for me. I can handle it being a dark film, but this is pitch black and so grim! After a devastating nuclear war, pure water is scarce in HK. The three fighting Divas must once again regroup as 'the Heroic Trio' to battle an evil overlord and vie for control of the purified water. This film could have worked if it had a little more in the script department. The
action sequences were top notch and it did have a very intriguing plot. But it
wasted so much time on thinking of ways to kill of it's characters.

Maggie Cheung (So BEAUTIFUL!) returns as Chat (formerly known as theif
catcher). Anita Mui now has a daughter (constantly in peril, very annoying!), and spends most of her time locked up in prison. She avoids the poisoned food and becomes so hungry that she rips the head from a rat and drinks it's blood. Michelle Yeoh has very little screen time and spends most of it protecting the pure water. Lau Ching wan, Takeshi Kaneshiro,
and Anthony Wong (three of my favorites) all turn up supporting roles, but are nowhere nearly used to their fullest!

Overall, very dissapointing.

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 06/06/2000
Summary: Boring and sloppy.

After several years, I did finally figure out that The Heroic Trio is a good movie, so I thought I'd finally check out the sequel. Just as most people say, it's a real disappointment. The songs come fast and furious, and have this strange... extra bad quality to them. The trio hardly have any screen time together. The plot is weird. Anthony Wong is having fun as the villain, but isn't a very interesting or convincing character. The action is spread to thin, and is mostly unexceptional gunplay. The body count has increased exponentially from the first movie, but it's just not much fun. Althought the action is always solid, and occasionally outstanding, there's just not enough high-standard stuff to make up for a messy plot that keeps its heroines seperated for most of the movie.

Reviewed by: leh
Date: 12/09/1999

The sequel mixes in elements of Total Recall and Bladerunnerwith some suprising plot twists. More serious than the first movie, it is still extremely entertaining. The scenario concerns an evil mega-corporation that's got a stranglehold on the worlds water- supply. For various reasons (which shouldn't be revealed for those who haven't seen it) another sequel seems unlikely. But who knows...

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

In an apocalyptic HK of the near future (after the PRC takes over maybe?), rich masked villain Mr. Kim has a stranglehold on the supply of uncontaminated water, and it's up the Heroic Trio (Michelle Khan, Maggie Cheung, and Anita Mui) to forestall a military coup. An exceptionally ridiculous plot (even by HK standards) is offset by a few great fighting sequences and, of course, the eye-appeal of the female leads.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 5