During the warlords era in China, a village located in rural area called Pucheng fell into dangerous situation when its government allocated all its military force to the front line, the cruel commandant Cao from the enemy troops arrived the village and killed the innocent, the guardians of Pucheng were desperate to fight against Cao for justice and to protect their homeland.
"Call of Heroes" is an entertaining wuxia film with cool characters and good enough action scenes that help overcome its shortcomings (they being bad acting, in the overacting category, thin as they come plot, and a too long running time).
The army has left Pucheng undefended to fight in the war, and the local governance is in the hands of the local militia and its leader, Colonel Yeung. Cho, the son of a military governor, who seems to just go around for the sake of killing people, gets to the city, and after doing some of his nasty stuff (so, killing innocents), is put in prison by Colonel Yeung, guilty of murder and condemned to die at the next day's sunrise. Cho's army will try to stop this.
You can see almost every plot development, fight and showdown in "Call of Heroes" from moment one. You know who will fight against whom, and how the plot will develop. However, director Chan and everyone involved do a great job with the rhythm and the pace and the little scenes between fights, to keep things fresh and including one or two little twists that make things feel original enough. The use of locations in the fights, and the cool action direction by Sammo Hung (who gives himself a blind-and-you-will-miss-it cameo) makes for really good showdowns every moment the tension rises and the action unleashes.
It helps that we have here some of the most famous faces in Hong Kong action movies. Ching Wan Lau as Colonel Yeung does a great job in the 'I-am-a-calm-and-stable-leader' mold. But the movie belongs to Eddie Peng and he embodies the hero of the story in a too-cool-to-be-true manner. His acting may look simple (raising eyebrows and little smiles), but it fits the character perfectly, and makes the viewer connect with Ma Fung, elevating the character to one of those you would like to see at least in a couple more movies. The same cannot be said of Louis Koo's Cho Siu-lun, Louis Koo having taking a page of the 'unleashed Jim Carrey' school of acting. Louis Koo munches his dialogue as if he was hyper after having two litters of coffee and half a pound of chocolate. He is probably having too much fun with the character, but it makes the viewer disconnect from the story, as the histrionics go to a level not much seen before.
"Call of Heroes" is a very entertaining movie, that is not trying to reinvent the wheel, but just entertain the viewer. And the fan of the genre will probably enjoy it.
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