Director: Benny Chan
Distributor: Splendid Film
Duration: 120 minutes
Call of Heroes (Ngai Sing) (DVD) – Movie Review
The title of the film we’re about to review, Call of Heroes, sounded quite heroic in our ears, and combined with the picture of a burning city on the box, it made us wonder what sad, yet heroic story would be told in this film. Sad and heroic, the story certainly is, but there is also a sense of hope, and the will to fight for justice. We can only hope that justice will also prevail.
It’s the early 1900s, and the Qing Dynasty has been shattered to pieces, resulting in many individual military provinces, which all fight for power. While the army of Pucheng is on a mission itself, hordes of refugees arrive in the city, looking for a safer place to stay. Marchal Cho (Louis Koo), the son of a military governor, roams around the country, killing innocent people just for the fun of it, and thus spreads even more fear around. One day, he arrives in Pucheng, but before the townsmen even know who he is, he kills his host, as well as the man’s niece and an innocent child. Colonel Yeung (Sean Lau), looking out for the order in the city while the army is away, quickly arrests Cho, and after a short trial, sentences him to death.
The sentence has only just been announced, when soldiers of Cho’s father enter the city to demand his immediate release. Yeung isn’t planning to let him just walk away with murder, and in the end the army commander (Jing Wu) gives Yeung an ultimatum. If Cho isn’t released the next day, the whole of Pucheng’s population will die. Yeung doesn’t want to give in to this threat, as a coldblooded killer such as Cho should be sentenced, despite the fact that his father is so influential. At the same time, he also knows that there aren’t many options left, if he wants to keep the population safe. He is quite stubborn though, and will go to great lengths to achieve justice, despite the fact that people are begging him to just release Cho, so they can all rest assured they will still be there the next day.
The film spans around two hours, but because the story is well divided over this time, it remains interesting to watch. The many action scenes will make time pass by quite quickly. It’s only too bad that the special effects are often just that little too much over the top, making the otherwise very realistic film feel a bit less authentic. Other than that, there isn’t very much to complain about, as the story keeps surprising from start to finish.
Acting performances are really convincing, but what’s probably the most interesting to see are the action scenes. All actors get their fair share of screen time for this, thus really being able to show off their skills. Sean Lau surprises with his whipping skills, which he admits in one of the extras, he didn’t know much about before shooting the film. Overall, it’s very fun to see how all actors manage to be so convincing both in the more story driven scenes, as well as in the action packed scenes.
There are quite a lot of extras on this release. For starters, you can enjoy a music video for the title song of the film. We must say that we found the song not really suiting the overall atmosphere of the film, but on its own, it doesn’t sound bad. Next to the music video, there are also some character trailers, which basically just sum up the main scenes for each character. It doesn’t really have much added bonus though, as it’s just clips from the film you’ve probably just seen. The last couple of extras are interesting, as they are little featurettes in which both directors and actors get a chance to talk about certain scenes, the sets, the story etc.
Call of Heroes has quite a heavy storyline, but Yeung’s story, trying to find justice in a situation where it seems simply impossible to do so, remains interesting from start to finish. The action scenes are quite impressive to watch acting wise, even though the special effects on those are a bit over the top, taking away a bit of the realistic factor of the story. Nonetheless, the film is definitely worth the watch, as the story, the acting and the extras will not disappoint.