Jing Wong’s Mercenaries from Hong Kong Get Unleashed in 2K for Fantasia 2020 and where can we find it playing next?
Another old Chinese movie playing at Fantasia 2022 is Shaw Brothers’ Mercenaries from Hong Kong. The 2K restoration screened over the weekend and I hope a home video rerelease is planned. It’s a must for any collector and enthusiast of vintage Hong Kong action cinema.
To note, not even I have seen every movie that’s been released during this time. There’s plenty of works that have never crossed the Pacific to screen in North America, and back then, the only source to find these works meant frequenting video rental shops in Chinatown. But they do not import every film unless they bootleg. Alas, these operations have become a thing of the past. These days, we search YouTube for trailers and visit YesAsia to make a purchase. To note, the DVD is out of print and not everybody has a player for the outdated VCD format. Perhaps this recent restoration might mean a new release is coming.
Not only do we get to see three terrific Chinese actresses—Anita Mui, Maggie Cheung and Michelle Yeoh—at their prime in The Heroic Trio, but also it is an homage to all the campy superhero shows of the past.
The timing couldn’t be better for the comeback of The Heroic Trio. Not only do we get to see three terrific Chinese actresses—Anita Mui, Maggie Cheung ane Michelle Yeoh—at their prime (this movie originally came out in 1993), but also it is an homage to all the campy superhero shows of the past.
Yeoh appeared in numerous pictures, but the fact the movie, Everything, Everywhere All At Once, is a spectacular hit has her on the radar again. Cheung is just as active, and Mui, before her passing, was known for her roles alongside Jackie Chan.
To Kei-fung’s directorial vision acknowledges the outrageous fun found in the history of works they’ve done, but also extends further. For example, we find nods to The Green Hornet, Flash Gordon, Tim Burton’s Batman and Wonder Woman. Nobody should be astonished that the heroines, Invisible Woman (Mui) and Wonder Woman (Yeoh), are familiar names. In contrast, they are nothing like their Marvel and DC Comics counterparts. I’m sure Kei-fung knew what he was doing and was paying tribute to their influence on Chinese pop culture.
Anyone not knowing the history of this film (it was made in 2015) might have wondered why some gangsters were wearing face masks–it wasn’t to keep them safe from toxins, but it’s the norm in smoggy Hong Kong.
The hottest talents from Hong Kong are the highlight in Undercover Punch and Gun (潜行者), and the eye-candy this film offers is very pleasing, even for the martial arts enthusiast. This movie originally came out in 2019 as Undercover vs Undercover. I doubt the producers were intending to make a play on Mad Magazine’s Spy vs Spy even though the concept is almost similiar.
As for which title is better, I’m glad the rename is used. This bare bones release is appropriate. The standard trailers and English dub (I watched in Mandarin myself) make up this home video edition.