Heroic Fight (HK 1990)

Rating: **
Review Date: 4/7/01
Cast: Lin Hsiao Lan, Dick Wei, Yuen Cheung Yan

Uh, yeah... A nearly intolerable action farce that perfectly reflects the sad state of cinematic comedy that was so prevalent in Hong Kong at the time. An action powerhouse for impishly cute Lin Hsiao Lan ("Magic Of Spell" (1990) ), but unfortunately she's abandoned all of her feminine charms and could easily pass as a boy in this film. (and in fact, the gender of her character is up for grabs and not clearly defined) First, the film pokes fun at triad life and organized crime. A wealthy legitimate businessman angers his "partner" when he refuses to do illegal business with him in the Golden Triangle. The jilted boss decides to take revenge by kidnapping the good guy's grand-daughter (who has an unhealthy interest in Madonna). Meanwhile in another part of town, we're introduced to a family of special effects artists headed up by a goofy Yuen Cheung Yan (complete with his huge buck teeth from "Drunken Tai Chi" (1984) ). His daughter (Lin Hsiao Lan) is an action movie star who is filming a totally bizarre period kung fu movie very similar to "Magic Of Spell". With the aid of a bicycle that would make Pee-Wee Herman jealous, she manages to rescue the little girl from her would-be kidnappers (one of whom is dressed as Mickey Mouse...) with an astonishing display of bike-fu. More silliness ensues, including a silly parody of the cabaret shootout from "The Killer" (1989). The old boss finally asks for Yuen Cheung Yan's help in faking his death with his talents, which leads to his loyal bodyguard (Dick Wei) defecting to the side of the enemy. The last forty minutes of the film have Dick and his cronies going up against the Yuen family, which ultimately leads to a ridiculous battle on a booby-trapped movie set.

On the plus side, apart from the painfully unfunny humor and mind boggling insanity, the action scenes are tight and quite enjoyable (if not overly silly). Lin Hsiao Lan is superb. She's got the moves and fights like a champ, and takes quite a beating as well. Her unfliching delivery is so full of intense conviction that it lends a sense of credibility to the completely over-the-top action. The always enjoyable Dick Wei also delivers kung fu goodness (and possibly his best dramatic performance ever), and is the only one who adds a touch of class to the film. He is totally straight and serious, even when the action around him gets unbearably stupid. Veteran kung fu actor Yuen Cheung Yan is also quite a treat to watch, and is a lot more active than I'm used to seeing him. With all of this talent involved, it's just such a shame that the movie is so stupid and non-sensical.