Review: ‘The Heroic Trio’

"The Heroic Trio" is a flashy kung fu superheroine adventure full of solid production values but marred by some disturbingly gratuitous plot elements. Hard-core kung fu fans, however, will probably be unfazed by such indelicacies.

“The Heroic Trio” is a flashy kung fu superheroine adventure full of solid production values but marred by some disturbingly gratuitous plot elements. Hard-core kung fu fans, however, will probably be unfazed by such indelicacies.

Although the chief superheroine is called Wonder Woman (Anita Mui), she’s far removed from the Lynda Carter TV character. In both costumes and ambience, “Trio” is closer to “Batman” and takes an even more noirish tone. The other two heroines are more ambiguous characters, one a reckless Rambo-type (Maggie Cheung), the other (Michelle Yeoh), at the outset, a henchwoman of the story’s master villain.

Plot revolves around the villain’s demented scheme to breed future emperors of China; at film’s opening, 18 babies have been mysteriously kidnapped. For those who find children-in-peril stories in questionable taste, pic carries the concept considerably further, with infants often endangered and one baby killed.

Some of the stolen children are shown grown to early adolescence and, in preparation for their bloodthirsty future, are fed human flesh. Adding to some of the less digestible plot aspects, two of the heroines decide that these boys are now beyond rehabilitation and proceed to annihilate them.

Other plot and thematic developments include: two sisters separated early in life before being reunited as supercomrades, a doom-laden romance, a superheroine married to a cop — in short, enough goings-on to support not only a sequel but a kung fu soap opera series.

Film’s ambitious plot range, however, does not always mesh with recurring comic-book tone. Full-blown climax has heroines battling their nemesis both above and below ground as the villain, as in “Terminator 2,” continues to struggle even when reduced to skeletal remains.

Sets by Bruce Yu and Raymond Chan and lensing by Poon Hang Seng and Tom Lau provide moody evocations both for the evildoers’ subterranean hideout and the exteriors and interiors of the city above. Lead actresses all acquit themselves well, with the ubiquitous Cheung still faring best.

The Heroic Trio

Hong Kong

Production

A Gordons Film Co. Ltd. (Hong Kong) and Rim Film Distributors (U.S.) release. Produced by Ching Siu Tung. Executive producers, Brian Yip, Coca Cheng. Directed by Johnnie To. Screenplay, Sandy Shaw.

Crew

Camera (color), Poon Hang Seng, Tom Lau; editor, Kum Wah Production Co., music, William Hu; art direction, Bruce Yu; set direction, Raymond Chan; costume design, Bruce Yu; martial arts director; Ching Siu Tung. Reviewed at the Cinema Village, N.Y., Dec. 7, 1993. Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Tung (Wonder Woman) -- Anita Mui Chat (Thief-Catcher) -- Maggie Cheung Ching/San (Invisible Woman) -- Michelle Yeoh Kau -- Anthony Wong (In Cantonese with English and Chinese subtitles)
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading