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英雄無淚 (1986)
Heroes Shed No Tears

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 02/14/2009

Shot in 1984 and immediately shelved by Golden Harvest "Heroes Shed No Tears" is a decent foreshadowing of future John Woo endeavors following the runaway success of "A Better Tomorrow" (1986).

A group of Chinese mercenaries are sent deep into the Golden Triangle to extract a Thai drug czar in exchange for U.S. citizenship.

Woo seemingly lifts his crude aesthetic from an Italian cannibal film though lead Eddy Ko Hung is unpretentious in his motives and the scenes that pair him with his on screen son -- supposedly inspired by the "Lone Wolf and Cub" serials -- are the best sequences the low budget action film has to offer.

Despite Woo's tenure in martial arts filmmaking he's in way over his head here. Lam Ching-ying (M), in one of the late actor's most unforgettable performances, co-stars as a Vietnamese general without ruth ad nauseam.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Wu'xiaBadger
Date: 02/10/2003
Summary: John Woo, Vietnam, DEA, BOOM!

While this movie didn't have the same impact on Woo's career that "a Better Tomorrow" did, I found it to be just as entertaining. While this is by no means a heroic bloodshed gangster pic, it does show a nice middleground between stuff like "Last Hurrah for Chivalry" and the gun-ballets that Woo is known for. I still haven't seen "Windtalkers", so to date this is the only Woo war film I've seen, but he did a comendable job with it.
Some of the minor points struck me as being a tad contrived (such as one hero's wife and kid living a few miles down the dirt road from where the villians are; in the middle of Cambodia!) but plot quibbles aside, very enjoyable. I particularly loved Woo's use of slapstick humor, used in the darkest manner possible, of course. 7/10
PS-having recently seen "Eastern Condors" for the first time, I relaize how generous I was with this flick. Make that 5/10, and watch "Eastern Condors" instead.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

The people of Northern Thailand are caught betweenVietnamese forces from across the Cambodian border, and drug barons. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency approaches a retired soldier and asks him for help in capturing the chief of the drug barons. His hazardous mission is threatened by both sides as the action builds to a spectacular climax.

[Reviewed by Rim Films Catalog]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

John Woo's first action film is also his first masterpiece. This war film is a low budget "Apocalypse Now." The nonstop action and heartfelt melodrama blend perfect to create just the right downbeat feel. Even the humorous interludes dealing with the conmen work for it. Seven years before "Sniper" Woo would film the scene where a bullet is fired up the scope and into the eye of a would be sniper.

[Reviewed by John Robert Dodd]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

A group of mercenaries leaded by ex-vietnam soldier Chan Chung (Eddy Ko), are hired by some U.S. officials and send in what it is called the "Golden Triangle" (as explained at the beginning of the movie, the Golden Triangle is a zone surrounded by Cambodia, Burma and Thailand). Their job is to find and bring back merciless drug lord General Samson. After having completed successfully their mission, the journey of Chan and his men will become quite unpleasant when they'll have Samson's men on their back. Matters will become even worse when, after having save the life of a french tourist (Cecile Le Bailly) from the hands of a bunch of Vietnamese border's guards, they will have to deal with their demented leader (Lam Ching-ying). I was quite surprised by this early effort from director John Woo. There was some shades of things to come in this flick. The final fight between Lam Ching-ying and Eddy Ko involving burning wood poles and gas barrels is somehow reminiscent of the fight between Lance Henricksen and Jean-Claude Van Damme at the end of HARD TARGET. This flick is an odd (but fun) mix between APOCALYPSE NOW, LET THEM DIE SLOWLY and some occasional vaudeville sequences (element that was quite present in some Woo's earlier films). Lam Ching-ying is a scenes stealers as the villainous Vietnamese Colonel, as far as I know, it's one of the rare occasion he played a bad guy. Eddy Ko also does a good job as our unfortunate hero. The entire film is quite entertaining but the first 30 minutes are the best! But keep in mind that this is not your typical John Woo's vehicle, even if there is some his trademarks in this film (friendship, loyalty, melodrama), the thematic of this film as not much to do with his later works.

[Reviewed by Martin Sauvageau]