A Man Called Hero (1999)
Reviewed by: pjshimmer on 2001-03-19
Summary: WAY COOL!
To tell you the truth, I really couldn't tell ya what it is I like so much about this long, forgettable, slow-paced production with bad acting, ok action, and a not-so-really-flowing story. All I can say is, I find the special effects to top that of "Storm Riders"--my favorite was the sword fight scene between Ng and Anthony Wong in the rain.--and the timeless music is definitely staying in my mind for a very, very wide duration of time. Finally, I can stop the tape just before the finale on statue of liberty and say to everybody, including my American friends and Chinese family, "Hey, this is deeply impressive HK movies are. I bet ya haven't seen anything like this before!"

Indeed, A MAN CALLED HERO is a perfect example of how magnificently remarkable special effects can just turn an otherwise-would-have-been-a bad movie into one you will never forget. This movie had a good story, but with countless flaws. I especially find it unconvincing that nobody ever mentioned at the end what happened to HERO's daughter, or is HERO ever going to be reunited with his family or his senior brother, GHOST SHADOW. The story also drags on forever; very boring during the first hour or so when flash-back memories is the primary concern.

There are some bad editings in the movie as well--one in particular when HERO first returns and uses his supernatural power to destroy the labor exploiters. Just keep that in mind and you will know what I'm talking about when you see Ekin Cheng merely holding his arms out as if stretching, when just before he supposedly cast a sweeping-through "sheng gong" (supernatural power).

I also feel Yuen Biao is once again, underperformed in this movie. We know from ABOVE THE LAW, DREADNAUGHT and PRODIGAL SON just how skilled in martial arts he is. Sadly, it seems Yuen Biao just got himself into a dozen of movies, like this one, where he just doesn't do much at all. Some examples are DEADFUL MELODY, ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA 1, SWORD STAINED WITH ROYAL BLOOD, HERO, ICEMAN COMETH, as well as some others. It is really a shame, because I feel Biao demonstrated the least skills here, as far as kung fu is concerned.

But the music is truly first-rate. Right from the beginning and at the very end, the theme song, much similar to the one in Storm Riders-but 10 times better-is as memorable as can be. And the special effects are even better! 3 major fights when they are used are all top notch! Very different from the Matrix/Charlie's Angel style, but in my opinion unique and more impressive.

I highly recommend this newer wave kung fu/swordsplay film. You will never know whether it will serve as a complete waste of time, or as a astonishing gem, which was the case for me. [9/10]