A Man Called Hero
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|A Man Called Hero|
DVD cover art
|Cantonese||Zung1 Waa4 Jing1 Hung4|
|Directed by||Andrew Lau|
|Produced by||Manfred Wong
|Screenplay by||Manfred Wong|
|Story by||Ma Wing-shing|
|Music by||Chan Kwong-wing|
|Edited by||Danny Pang|
|Distributed by||Golden Harvest
Sahamongkol Film International
A Man Called Hero is a 1999 Hong Kong wuxia film directed by Andrew Lau. It is loosely based on the manhua series Chinese Hero: Tales of the Blood Sword by Hong Kong artist Ma Wing-shing. It won the 1999 Golden Horse Award for Best Visual Effects.
The story begins in early Republican China. Hero Hua is given his family heirloom, the Red Sword, and is accepted by Pride, a martial arts master, as a student after passing a test. When he returns home, he is horrified to see that his family have been murdered by Westerners for opposing the opium trade. That night, Hero breaks up the Westerners' party and kills them in revenge. He spends the rest of the night with his lover, Jade. The next morning, he flees from China and sails to America.
16 years later, Hero's childhood friend, Sheng, and Hero's son, Sword Hua, arrive in New York City on the first day of the Chinese New Year. They visit China House, the biggest inn in Chinatown, where they see a lion dance performance led by the Boss of China House. A group of thugs show up and demand that the Boss hand over a monk, Luohan, whom they believe to be hiding in China House. The Boss defeats the thugs in a fight and drives them away. He then shows Sword and Sheng to Luohan, who tells them how he met and befriended Hero on board the ship bound for America, and their experiences as labourers in Steel Bull Canyon. Sword and Sheng later visit Jade's grave, where Sheng tells Sword about how he and Jade travelled to New York City before Sword's birth in search of Hero, and how Sword's parents were reunited in America. While visiting the shop where Sword's parents took their wedding photographs, Sword and Sheng sense someone following them. Sword surprises the stalker and manages to corner her after a brief chase through the streets. She identifies herself as Kate, the daughter of Shadow, Hero's senior.
Kate leads Sword and Sheng to her father. Shadow tells them how he rescued Hero from Steel Bull Canyon when the latter was buried in the sand for allegedly murdering two men, and what happened after Hero and Jade were reunited. Hero and Shadow encountered the Five Elements Ninjas and defeated them in a fight. During the fight, Hero injured the female ninja, Wood, but spared her life and sent her for medical treatment. Wood developed a crush on Hero, and that incurred the jealousy of the Gold Ninja, who is secretly in love with Wood. Jade had just given birth to a pair of twins in China House when the Gold Ninja set fire to the building. Taking advantage of the chaos, Bigot, a traitor, kidnapped Sword's twin sister and disappeared. There have been no news of her since then. Jade died in Hero's arms shortly after giving birth due to excessive blood loss.
Shadow continues narrating the story. After Jade's death, Hero met a fortune teller, who told him he was born under the Star of Death and is destined to lead a life of loneliness because misfortune will befall those who are close to him. Hero entrusted his baby son, Sword, to Sheng before leaving with Shadow to meet their master, Pride, in Japan. In Japan, they witnessed a duel between Pride and his junior and rival, Invincible. Pride defeated Invincible but sustained internal injuries and died not long after the duel. Before his death, Pride passed Hero the martial arts manual "China Secret" and transferred all his inner energy to him.
Back in the present at China House, the Boss, Sword and the others plan to liberate the labourers at Steel Bull Canyon. They disguise themselves as a Chinese opera troupe, infiltrate the canyon, and catch the supervisors off guard in a surprise attack. Luohan sacrifices himself to stop the supervisors from throwing dynamite at the escaping labourers by launching a suicide attack on the enemy. Sword corners Bigot and demands the whereabouts of his twin sister, but Bigot suddenly draws out a gun and shoots him. Bigot is about to kill Sword when Hero shows up and finishes him off. Hero uses his inner energy to create an explosion and prevent a group of mounted enemies from advancing further. The heroes and labourers return to China House in triumph.
Sword is happy to see his father in person for the first time after hearing the stories about him. However, Hero appears cold towards his son and constantly keeps a distance away from him, because he strongly believes the fortune teller's words that he will lose his loved ones if he gets close to them. Hero also meets Wood, who has maintained her crush on him for the past 16 years, but he refuses to accept her. She warns Hero that her master, Invincible, has arrived in New York City. Since Pride is dead, Invincible turns on Hero, Pride's successor, to finish the duel. The next morning, Invincible shows up at China House and fights with the Boss and Sword until Hero appears and stops him. Hero and Invincible then duel on top of the Statue of Liberty and eventually Hero defeats and destroys Invincible. Before the film ends, Sword and Sheng are seen preparing to depart China House while Hero watches them from a distance and walks away in the opposite direction as they leave.
- Ekin Cheng as Hero Hua
- Shu Qi as Wood Ninja
- Kristy Yang as Jade
- Nicholas Tse as Sword Hua
- Yuen Biao as Boss of China House
- Jerry Lamb as Sheng
- Dion Lam as Shadow
- Jordan Chan as Shadow (voice)
- Anthony Wong as Pride
- Ken Lo as Monk Luohan
- Francis Ng as Invincible
- Elvis Tsui as Bigot
- Mark Cheng as Gold Ninja
- Sam Lee as Fire Ninja
- Grace Yip as Kate
- Jude Poyer as Bull
- Cheng Pei-pei as Hero's mother
- Wong Ban as Manager of China House
- Yu Ka-ho as Earth Ninja
- Benjamin Yuen as Water Ninja
- Thomas Hudak as Black Dragon commander
- Hon San as Big Stone
- Frankie Ng as Moon
- Wong Chi-hung
- Lam Chi-tai
- Fung Wai-lun
- Huang Kai-sen
The music and songs for the film were composed by Chan Kwong-wing.
- Tin Sat Ku Hsing (天煞孤星; Star of Death), the theme song, performed in Cantonese by Ekin Cheng. Cheng also sang the Mandarin version of this song, titled Tianya Haijiao (天涯海角; To the Ends of the Earth).
- Faa Cheng Ho (花正好; The Flower is Good), insert song, performed in Cantonese by Ekin Cheng. Cheng also sang the Mandarin version of this song, titled Ni Zou Dao Na Li (你走到哪裡; Wherever You Go).
- Dai Yat Ngan (第一眼; First Glance), insert song, performed in Cantonese by Nicholas Tse.
Awards and nominations
- 1999 Golden Horse Film Awards
- 19th Hong Kong Film Awards (2000)
- A Man Called Hero at the Internet Movie Database
- A Man Called Hero at AllMovie
- A Man Called Hero at the Hong Kong Movie DataBase