Film #152: HERO AMONG HEROES (aka FIST OF THE RED DRAGON aka SOU HAT-YI aka BEGGAR SO)
Heroes Among Heroes (aka Fist of the Red Dragon aka Sou Hat-Yi aka Beggar So)
3 out of 5 stars
Donnie Yen (IP MAN, HERO, BLADE 2) stars as Beggar Su in a film from 1993 and directed by Woo-Ping Yuen & Chan Chin-Chung. This story was most recently told in Woo-Ping Yuen’s thoroughly average film, TRUE LEGEND. Unlike TRUE LEGEND, this is classic Wuxia. Gone are the CG environments. Gone are sweeping crane shots. This film looks more like a chop-socky flick than HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS. This is Woo-Ping in mid-career and a lot of the filmmaking reflects that. In this version of the story, the mood is substantially lighter than it was in the 2010 version, but the blight of drug addiction does raise its head. Yen is exemplary here showing a verve and exuberance that only a young man can have. There is a lot of mugging by the supporting cast which gives the film a goofy kind of comedic flair, but let’s face… one comes to these kinds of films for the fighting and Master Ping choreographs some terrific ones. Recommended for Wuxia fans and Woo-Ping Yuen aficionados especially, but others may find themselves enjoying this one as well. Again, distinctly lighter than TRUE LEGEND (which, let’s face it, got a little morose) which makes for a film that is a lot more fun.