Blog Archives

Call of Heroes (2016)

Feel the call of the hero. At least try — the movie really wants you to. Alas, the basic setup of Call of Heroes is a tense, action-packed opportunity gone begging. It’s not bad, just frustratingly less than it could have been.

We enter the story at ground level with teacher Miss Bai (Jiang Shu Ying), as she chaperones a group of children from the decimated Stone City to the town of Pucheng. Stopping at an inn, they witness a … (read more)

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Overheard 3 (2014)

By way of full disclosure: When Overheard 3 arrived in Australian cinemas and distributor Magnum Films were kind enough to send me a ticket for review, I was worried. I hadn’t seen the first two films, and this is generally a recipe for incomprehensibility as far as the third is concerned. I saw the first installment on iTunes as prep, and then discovered that I needn’t have worried: writer/director duo Alan Mak and Felix Chong have crafted a series of … (read more)

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Life Without Principle (2011)

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Looking through our archives, it seems like almost everyone who’s ever written for Heroic Cinema has sat down at a keyboard to bash out a review of a Johnnie To film at one time or another. Ching Yee compared films from Milkyway Image to comfort food in her review of My Left Eye Sees Ghosts, and she’s right — To’s films have developed a distinctive style and consistently high level of quality over the years, and I always look … (read more)

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Mad Detective (2007)

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Hong Kong’s most reliably excellent director brings back Lau Ching Wan for another collaboration in Mad Detective, their first in several years. It’s a Hong Kong police procedural, familiar territory to Hong Kong film fans, except that it has a rather creative twist. Lau Ching Wan plays Bun, a brilliant intuitive detective who has a knack for solving crimes through putting himself in the shoes of their participants, seeing their inner conflicts and motivations. Unfortunately, he’s also a little … (read more)

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The Shopaholics (2006)

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Well the Lunar New Year is around the corner once again and, for those who find themselves bored with the firecrackers, the drums, the symbols and the two guys under the paper mache lion, there is always the latest upbeat offering out of HK to shake you out of that ‘too many resolutions broken – and it’s only January’ funk and give you yet another opportunity to ‘start again’.

That moment of self reflection as you walk into a film … (read more)

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Running Out of Time 2 (2001)

If you liked Running Out of Time as much as I did then you’d have been hanging out to see this sequel by Johnnie To.

First off, the good news — Lau Ching Wan returns as the likeable, determined smarty-pants cop Inspector Ho Seung Sang. Other regulars from the first film such as Lam Suet, Ruby Wong and Hui Sui-Hong also returns (Lam Suet in a break from continuity tradition returns as a different character just to mess with our … (read more)

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My Left Eye Sees Ghosts (2002)

If there are comfort foods for the seasons then Milkyway films must be one of my comfort films.

As I was thinking about My Left Eye Sees Ghosts, Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai’s latest hit, one film in particular springs to my mind — Needing You. In this case, because Sammi Cheng is again the lead actress but My Left Eye has another secret weapon, the pairing of Sammi with another Milkyway veteran — the dark and … (read more)

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Himalaya Singh (2005)

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What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment. I asked for it. I knew it was going to be pretty atrocious but the level inanity here is so incredible it whittles your IQ down to a single figure. However, you know you’re in dangerous territory when the film doesn’t even meet your already low expectations.

Himalaya Singh doesn’t quite achieve the beautiful and lofty heights of the Himalayas in its title. Nowhere near, unfortunately. If I’m being harsh, then … (read more)

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