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Featured DVD Review: The Heroic Trio

January 1st, 2012

The Heroic Trio - Buy from Amazon

The Heroic Trio, a.k.a., Dung fong saam hap, was made nearly 20 years ago and was a large enough hit in its native Hong Kong that is spawned a sequel, Executioners. It also has a cult following here, but does it deserve a wider audience?

The Movie

When the movie begins, the police are trying to crack the case involving the kidnapping of babies. Eighteen babies were snatched in a period of three months, and with no demands, they are ruling out ransom or political motives. That leaves the supernatural. However, while this reasoning might be sound, before they can do anything, an invisible force writes on the police chief's notepad warning him that his son will be next. They increase the security at the hospital where the police chief's wife had given birth and where his infant son still is. But despite this, an invisible force breaks in and steals two babies. A masked super hero, Shadow Fox, is able to hit this invisible entity with one of her throwing blades and save one of the babies, but the police chief's son is kidnapped.

We then see the invisible force, it's Ching, a.k.a. Number 3, without her cloak as she is driving with the kidnapped baby to her Evil Master's secret hideout. He's collecting the infants, all of whom used to be emperors in previous lives. He will raise them in a specific manner and one of them will become the immortal ruler of China. (The others will have a less pleasant fate.)

Meanwhile, just because his infant son has been kidnapped, it doesn't mean the police chief doesn't have a job to do and we see him at a hostage situation. After one of the hostages is killed, Mercy, a mercenary, shows up and rescues the rest. She also tells the police chief she can rescue his son, for $100,000. Her plan begins by stealing another baby and use it as bait. This is as bad a plan as it seems.

At this point we start getting into unacceptable spoiler territory, so I'll end the plot summary there. Although quite frankly I don't think I could explain the plot in great detail, even if I wanted to. This is one strange movie. I don't know if there are some cultural idiosyncrasies from Hong Kong that didn't translate well here, but there were some aspects of this movie that were truly bizarre. For instance, in the action finale, we get to see the skeleton of the Evil Master wrapped around the Ching, who then controls her body to fight the other two women. You don't see that in many Hollywood movies. On the other hand, I didn't care. I don't care that there were so many elements that were incomprehensible to me. This movie had more than enough cool to compensate. In fact, the strangeness factor adds to the cool factor.

I also liked the movie, because it had three beautiful women kicking ass. It still quite rare for women to have leading roles in action films, so to have three of them in one movie is a treat. The action scenes were extremely well done, with a definite Hong Kong feel to them. (On more than one occasion, you could see the wires holding up the thrown weapons.) It's so far over-the-top that you can't help but be swept up by the action.

The Extras

There are no extras on the DVD. Also, the only version on the DVD is the North American cut with an English-dubbed track. I would have loved to have the slightly longer version with the original audio track (including the original score / songs) but I don't think that's ever been released in the United States.

The Verdict

The Heroic Trio is a great film and while the DVD is a little disappointing, it costs just $7 on and you can't complain about that.

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