A Man Called Hero (1999)Directed by: Wai Keung Lau
Starring: Ekin Cheng, Anthony Wong, Yuen Biao, Shu Qi
Tagline: "Not as good as The Storm Riders" will be written on this film's gravestone
Supposedly this film is meant to be a follow-up of sorts to The Storm Riders (1998). You can see this with the titles being a collection of Manga style scenes and the theme sounding like the one from The Storm Riders also.
The story begins with Hero Hua receiving the Red Sword from his parents and going to try out for Master Pride (Anthony Wong).
He also has a snow fight with his girlfriend and other friend Sheung. (Which I couldn't understand any of as they had white subtitles and everything was covered with snow. I wouldn't be able to watch any Hong Kong movies about Arctic explorers/mountain climbers or Eskimos for the same reason.)
His happiness at being accepted as a student doesn't last long though, as his parents are killed by an 'evil westerner' and he goes to get revenge using his Red Sword.
Sixteen years later Sheung and Hero's son, Sword Hua arrive in New York to look for Hero. Upon arriving at China House they find Chinese New Year celebrations in full swing, which are upset by Old-West style bogans who are looking for a monk.
The monk (Lohuan) turns out to be a friend of Hero's who escaped from a stone quarry called Steel Bull Canyon that they both worked in. He tells them that Hero fought against the owners the quarry and that they are still after both of them.
They also meet the daughter of Brother Shadow (another student of Master Pride) who tells them what happened after Hero's wife came to America looking for him.
In the course of the flashback we meet some cool-looking Japanese Ninjas - Earth, Wind, Water and Fire, and hear about Master Pride's duel with Master Invincible.
You can tell the inevitable confrontation is going to come when they go to rescue the workers at the mining camp. The battle continues in the city with a spectacular showdown on the Statue of Liberty. This movie is one of the only Hong Kong movies I have ever seen mentioned in the Herald Sun newspaper (they were talking about the digital effects.)
While there are some interesting characters in this movie, they are not really developed that much. Of particular disappointment are the ninjas who are introduced really well, but we hardly get to see them in the movie.
I thought some of the supporting characters were really annoying also, in particular the 'evil westerners' that keep appearing over and over. At one point the Klu Klux Klan even make an appearance which is completely pointless (this scene was cut from the US release.)
The special effects are really great and the Hong Kong digital effects company Centro is responsible for them here. My favourites where the scenes with the ninjas and the Statue of Liberty fight at the end.
I thought the fight scenes were handled very well, in particular the final battle as you would expect.
I would recommend this movie if you like fantasy action movies and have already seen The Storm Riders. As long as you don't expect it to be totally awesome then you will really enjoy it.