Call of Heroes, Chinese movie (2016)

I think that pretty much everyone has heard the name Bruce Lee at some point in their lives. Considered by many to be the greatest martial artist that has ever lived, he has made a couple of legendary Hong Kong actionmovies. As many of you know I am a huge Asian movie buff, but I discovered the Asian martial arts genre pretty late. And it wasn’t actually Bruce Lee that introduced me to it, but an equally famous actor, namely Jackie Chan. I have seen many of the old Jackie Chan flicks, and enjoyed them an awful lot. Police Story, Armour of God, Drunken Master, are just a couple of examples of his movies that I really liked. When you really love something though, you try to find out more about it, and eventually I discovered there were a lot of other gems in this volatile genre. These days martial arts movies are made in almost every country, not only Asia. But for some reason I just think the best of these type of films are still coming out of China. That’s not to say that all of these movies are good though.

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Some people have just watched Indiana Jones a bit too much.Β 

Call of Heroes takes place in the past, right after the dissolution of the Qing Dynasty. The land is being torn apart by a bunch of military governates that are trying to seize power. The ruthless Marshal Cho, who is a son of one of these military governors, travels across the country killing people indiscriminately. At one point he ends up in the village of Pucheng where he kills three people, one of them a young boy. Soon after he is arrested by Colonel Yeung, who is the leader of the town militia, and sentenced to death. As can be expected, his father doesn’t really take kindly to this, and orders him to be released. If they fail to comply, the town will be destroyed. As the town is not capable of defending themselves against the might of an army, tensions are beginning to run high. The pressure on Yeung increases as the citizens of the town are afraid for their lives, and want nothing more than to have Marshal Cho released. But then a mysterious stranger enters the town. This man could be the turning point of everything, but his intentions are unclear. Has he arrived to offer his help, or has he come for something more sinister? Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking and the time for Pucheng is running out……

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If not for the fight scenes, this image almost sums up my thoughts for this movie.Β 

Call of Heroes is one of those movies that really doesn’t know what it wants to be. At the start of the movie, you think it’s a comedy (albeit a very bad one, with seriously cringeworthy humor). Then all of a sudden it switches gears and turns into a Western. Or at least something that tries to be a Western. And then we all of a sudden get a very brutal action movie. And I do mean brutal. Because when Marshall Cho begins to kill, the deaths he causes are quite horrific and unexpected. I don’t mind it when a movie blends together different genres, in fact if done right it usually makes for an interesting watch. Here though the execution is done very poorly and as an audience you are just unprepared to take some of the scenes seriously. Especially since a minute ago you supposedly had to laugh at a few of the slapstick jokes that were fired at you.

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Noooo….I just bought that furniture!

And then there is the acting. Marshal Cho is played by Louis Koo. Now I have seen him in a few relatively minor roles before, but he clearly is out of his league here. His overacting in trying to make Cho a menacing character just doesn’t work. His maniacal laughing gets on your nerves every time he does it, and instead of fearing him, you just end up thinking of him as a very annoying and quite frankly comical character. Marshal Yeung was one of the few characters that I really liked. Played by Sean Lau, he had a very calm and charismatic way of acting that made Yeung a character that you could really establish a connection with. Eddie Peng completes the triangle of main characters, by playing the role of the mysterious stranger. In the beginning of the movie his slapstick antics failed to impress, but his role did improve over the course of the film, and turned into something better. Veteran martial artist Wu Ying also has a small but decent role in the movie, and gets to showcase his talents in some great scenes.

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Mortal Kombaaaaaattttttt!!!!!!!

And that brings us to a positive note that I can say about this movie, and that is the fight sequences. The fight choreagraphy is handled by the legendary Sammo Hung and for people who have some knowledge of the Hong Kong action movie genre this name should be very familiair. Sammo has certainly managed to produce a couple of terrific martial arts sequences, that at least managed to make make the movie not a total loss. Unfortunately though that is not enough for saving this movie from being a pretty disappointing watch. With the struggle this film has in trying to decide what it wants to be, as well as some truly over the top performances, it just isn’t a movie that I can recommend. The only reason that I did not grade the movie lower, was the fact that the martial arts on display, especially in two high caliber sequences, was pretty awesome. If you are a fan of Hong Kong action cinema you might want to give this one a go. Casual moviegoers though, had best avoid this one.

I give Call of Heroes a 5 out of 10 score.

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32 thoughts on “Call of Heroes, Chinese movie (2016)”

    1. Haha, be careful what you wish for πŸ˜‚Before you know it, the Queen of Darkness comes rising up out of the Abyss. I seem to have misplaced my Staff of Magius though πŸ€”πŸ€”

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      1. Haha, for me it’s always been Raistlin. Ever since reading about him, he has become my alltime favorite book character (and that hasn’t changed so far😊). But true….Caramon is good guy too, even though Raistlin treated him like garbage at times…..

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  1. Jackie Chan introduced me to make says moved back when I saw Drunken Master and Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow, then Chow Yun-Fat introduced me to Blood Operas and Comedy with A Better Tomorrow 2 and 100 Ways To Murder Your Wife respectively.
    Unfortunately, this one doesn’t sound like a great example of Asian cinema.

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    1. Ah yes, Chow Yun-fat, really seen so e terrific movies with him. The Killer by John Woo is of course one of the best classics with him. Too bad these days you don’t see him very often anymore.
      No, as mentioned some pretty cool fight sequences, but ultimately a pretty forgettable movie. Shame, this could have been so much better.

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  2. Chow is still doing a few actually. I think he’s mostly doing the Vegas to Macau series, which is a sequel to God of Gamblers.
    Still, if the action is good, it at least has something going for it. But then, with Sammo Hung involved, you’re usually going to get good action.

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  3. I’ve never really taken to humor mixed in with my martial arts, so Jackie Chan’s movies were all very confusing for me.

    I tend to think that martial arts movies should all be like “The Man of Tai Chi” πŸ™‚ Either a hero journey/quest, or a fall from grace and redemption.The Protector is another one that fits that category for me.

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    1. Yeah, I can understand that. The humor in Jackie Chan movies was at times a hit over the top, but not every movie had that though. His stunts were seriously amazing though, and more often than not I wondered how on Earth did he do that?
      I like the more serious martial arts films better myself as well. The Protector is awesome. If you like that one, you might also want to check out SPL2. That one was seriously terrific πŸ˜€

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      1. There is an SPL one, but I have never seen it. Having seen this second one, I can’t say that I missed anything by nothing having seen the first part. Maybe they just feature some of the characters but the stories themselves are not connected. Either way, it’s not necessary to see it to enjoy this second part πŸ˜€

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  4. I was surprised to learn that the first martial arts movies starred women because the men good enough at martial arts thought movies were beneath them. Then they found out how much money the women were making.

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    1. That is really interesting. I did not know that. But there are certainly quite a number of terrific women martial artists out there, that honestly could sometimes wipe the floor with some of the men. Something that I always think is very cool πŸ˜€

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  5. I loved the cartoon Jackie Chan, when I was a child πŸ™‚
    This movie does seem a bit much. Swinging a man around by his foot seems a bit too brutal and rather painful. I definitely would not want to be that guy hehe πŸ˜€

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    1. Lol…no I think that would be very painful indeed πŸ˜‚ Yeah, I forgot about that, but you are right there was a Jackie Chan cartoon πŸ˜€ I can’t really remember much about that one quite honestly. Don’t think I have seen many episodes for it either.
      True enough about this film though…it was a disappointment, definitely much better martial arts movies out there πŸ˜€

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    1. Thank you very much, appreciate it πŸ˜€ Yeah Jackie Chan certainly made some cool movies. This one though you had best avoid. It really isn’t that great and there are much better martial arts movies out there πŸ˜€

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  6. I haven’t heard of this movie before. I also like to watch many Asian movies’ fight scenes. I like to watch girls fight scenes more than guys haha.. especially the fight scenes on the bamboo trees from that movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I also like Jacky Chan movies too. My favorite must be Rush Hour, mainly because I like Chris Tucker. He’s hilarious.

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    1. Haha, yeah, there are some pretty awesome scenes in martial arts movies involving girls: the Raid part 2 springs to mind for this one πŸ˜€
      This film though….you had best avoid it. It just really isn’t very good.
      Agree with you: Chris Tucker is really funny πŸ˜‚

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