Issue #247          HOME          E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com        BACK ISSUES            January 17th, 2005

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Chinese Heroes
(2001; My Way Film Co. Ltd)

Cantonese: Chung wah jeung fu
Mandarin: Zhong hua zhang fu
English: Good Chinese Men

 

RATING: 4/10

REVIEW:

Remove the tacky CGI, increase the ratio to 2.35:1, and degrade the film stock a bit, and some might be hard pressed to distinguish this period kung fu meller from its indie brethren produced 20 years ago. Afficionados, however, will be disappointed by the fact that it is so utterly run-of-the-mill, surprising considering the executive producer was none other than Yuen Woo-ping. The storyline incorporates a number of the genre’s most familiar threads, starting with the old chestnut about two impoverished young friends split apart by the temptations of wealth. Mix in a rascally drunken master (genre perennial Chin Kar-lok, now old enough to play such a role), his kiddie kung fu contingent (led by Shi Xiao-long), and a band of ninjas after a secret list, and you have a very familiar stew.

Chin Kar-lok (amidst children), Shi Xiao-long (right behind Chin) Lee San-san Ken Wong

The performers do display a few impressive moves but the pace often lags, Douglas Kung Chung-tak’s direction is undistinguished, and the TV-level production values detract (the movie was shot in Mainland China but spends most of the running time on a sparsely decorated back lot town set). Ken Wong Hap-hei plays the requisite man of mystery and Lee San-san (COP SHOP BABES) provides some overly contemporary sex appeal as the local casino boss infatuated with him.


PRESENTATION:

The non-anamorphic transfer is uneven. In some shots, the image looks crisp and attractive while, a few scenes later, it is soft and blown out. A few tracking shots look ragged but this appears to be the result of PAL conversion, rather than bad compression. It is an acceptable rendering overall and almost no wear is present. Optional English subtitles can be called up to accompany the Cantonese and Mandarin monaural audio tracks (both are post-synced and a tad flat). A trailer for the documentary RED TROUSERS is the sole extra.

Shi Xiao-long Chin Kar-lok (right) Lee San-san (left), Ken Wong


This DVD is available from Amazon:

Images in this review courtesy of Tai Seng Entertainment. To read captions, hover mouse over image.


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Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2005. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

DVD Specifications

  • U.S. Release
  • NTSC Region 0
  • Tai Seng Entertainment #38964
  • Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Post-synced Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
  • Subtitles (Optional): English
  • 8 Chapters
  • 4:3 Letterbox (1.75:1)
  • 99 Minutes

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Australia: M 15+
  • Great Britain: 15 (cut)
  • Manitoba: PG
  • Nova Scotia: 14
  • Quebec: 13+
  • Contains moderate violence and brief cruelty to animals

FILM REVIEW RATINGS KEY:

  • 10 A Masterpiece
  • 9 Excellent
  • 8 Highly Recommended
  • 7 Very Good
  • 6 Recommended
  • 5 Marginal Recommendation
  • 4 Not Recommended
  • 3 Poor
  • 2 Definitely Not Recommended
  • 1 Dreadful