The Heroic Trio

The Heroic Trio (1993)
Tai Seng Video Marketing
Cast: Anita Mui, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, Anthony Wong
Extras: Trailers, Biographies

Tired of those big budget Hollywood movies that rely more on heavy-duty special and computer-generated effects than overall content and actual acting? Try this one. "The Heroic Trio" is a perfect example of how modern Hong Kong cinema can easily outdo major American motion pictures. This is a super hero movie the way it should be done; instead of relying solely on special effects to deliver the goods, it mixes in solid choreography, acting and superb human stunts.

Set in modern day Hong Kong, "The Heroic Trio" revolves around three female superheroes, each, originally, with her own interests, each leading them to defeat evil. Tung is the wife of a Police Commander investigating a mysterious case of baby kidnappings; her secret identity is the vigilante Wonder Woman. Chat is a bounty hunter who’s turned away from evil. Ching is Invisible Woman, whose poweful and evil master has chosen her to steal the babies and kill her lover, a scientist working on a robe of invisibility. The three fight each other along the way but when they discover that they have more in common than good looks, nice costumes, and super powers, they team up to defeat evil and face what has been buried and forgotten in their souls for a very long time…

"The Heroic Trio" is a very good-looking movie – and I am not talking only about the images here. It features a cast of Hong Kong superstars, all of whom have many talents besides acting and Kung Fu chops. Anita Mui was a legendary singer in the Hong Kong music scene a long time before she started acting, and her performance on the movie’s title song "Nui Yan Sam" earned "The Heroic Trio" the prestigious Hong Kong Award for the Best Original Film Song. She has been working with many international movie stars, most notably however she made appearances in many of Jackie Chan’s pictures. Michelle Yeoh, former Miss Malaysia, was voted one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People; she is presently Asia’s top female action star, playing opposite of Jackie Chan in "Supercop". She also plays opposite Pierce Brosnan in the latest James Bond movie "Tomorrow Never Dies".
Finally, Maggie Cheung starred opposite Jackie Chan in "Police Story", and won several Best Actress awards internationally.

What is absolutely stunning about "The Heroic Trio", however, is action director Ching Siu-Tung’s artful choreography and director Johnny To’s visual presentation of the material. Never have Kung Fu fights been more entertaining and downright heart-stopping. Those women are kicking, flying, jumping, walking on powerlines, and climbing walls like no one else has. Despite its urban setting, the movie masterfully captures all of Asia’s tasteful and rich cinematography found in other, more traditional fantasy movies and unlike American action movies, it also accentuates the soft, human and romantic side of the heroes. It creates a stark contrast between its violent, surreal and sad moments, especially visible in the scene after Wonder Woman recovers one of the stolen babies.

Like many other Asian fantasy movies, "The Heroic Trio" is a masterpiece in photography and Tai Seng has done well to clean up the film transfer to DVD. The fleshtones are perfect and the contrast is exactly right to show you all those details in the shadows. All the scratches and marks found in previous releases have been removed and it is remarkable how sharp this film looks, especially when compared to former releases that have been soft, losing some of the movie’s details. Not so this DVD. It is well done, without <$pixelation,pixelation> or <$chroma,chroma noise>. This is impressive, considering the many heavily blue and red tinged scenes. Only a <$PS,widescreen> version of the movie is found on this single-sided disc, which is absolutely okay with me, since I am not particularly fond of <$PS,pan&scan> versions in the first place and the 1.85:1 aspect ratio still makes good use of a regular TV screen.

"The Heroic Trio" is Tai Seng’s first DVD release, and it has not failed to impress me with its quality and the effort put into this release. The movie is dubbed in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin. English subtitles have been supplied; they can be toggled from the interactive menu. The menu also gives you access to various extras on the disc. If this DVD is any indication of what future Tai Seng releases will look like, fans of Asian movies are definitely in for a treat. If their selection of titles keeps up with this classic movie, hopefully phantastic Hong Kong cinema will finally get the kind of attention and respect it has deserved for a long time. I only wish "A Chinese Ghost Story" and "Bride With White Hair" were on their list.

If you have never liked Hong Kong movies and thought they are too cheesy for you, try "The Heroic Trio". If this one doesn’t convert you, nothing will. I definitely prefer it to the current incarnations of "Batman" or "The Crow"; I’ll take it over "Spawn" or "Space Rangers" any day.