Just Heroes (1989) Poster

(1989)

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Minor Woo Classic
eibon0421 February 2001
Yi Dan Qun Ying/Just Heroes(1987) is a very good action flick with tones of King Lear. Just Heroes(1987) was done between A Better Tomorrow 2(1987) and The Killer(1989). The film is really a parody of A Better Tomorrow 1&2. There is a character in the film who likes to recite lines by Mark of A Better Tomorrow(1986). John Woo even pokes fun at the famous guns in the flower pot scene by using it again.

This was one of two films that Danny Lee did not appear as a Police Officer(the other being City on Fire). The film opens and ends with some excellent gun play. Its about members of a Mob gang who scamble for control after the head is assassinated. Danny Lee is very good in the role of the confused Sou. John Chiang is good as the idealistic Wai.

Although not as brilliant as the best of John Woo, its still superior to three out of four films that he has done in the USA. Just Heroes is notable for the early appearence of Comedian Stephen Chow in a dramatic role. Deals with the themes of honor and loyalty. The movie shows that there are differences between the fantasied and reality of life as a Triad. Ti Lung has a short cameo that ties Just Heroes(1987) to the two A Better Tomorrow films.

Just Heroes(1987) has a lot in common with the similarly themed epic Tragic Hero(1987). Woman have a much bigger role here that is unusual in a John Woo film. More than one person directed this feature film. One of my favorite scenes is the flashback sequence with the gun battle. Another favorite scene is the shoot out at the deserted mine.
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Executive Suite meets Macbeth
matt-20126 May 1999
The crime business gets an even more banalizing makeover in this John Woo blowout than it does in the beige-suit-and-silver-tie-clip yakuza world of Takeshi Kitano's gangland melodramas. Reportedly thrown together in haste, this web of intrigues in a most routinely businesslike mob world has it all: tippling molls, Kun Opera, quadruple-crosses, buckets of Wooian sentimentality, and world-class, state-of-the-art action choreography. Woo learned from the masters Walter Hill and Sam Peckinpah and did them one better: nobody on this earth, except Steven Spielberg on a good day, understands the ballet of gunmen and camera like Woo. It's become a cliche, but it's true, and this underrated movie proves it: Woo raised the bar and then hurtled over it. He's the tops.
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8/10
Make this film available to English speaking public
Sevket_Erhat13 May 2007
From what I have observed a lot of people is really disappointed in this movie but I fell in love with it!

It is such a shame that this movie is only available as French and Japanese DVDs and both are without subtitles. I guess this explains why many people does not know this John Woo movie.

The story is not that bad but they really could've added a lot to "who will be the heir to murdered triad boss ?" storyline.

But they opted for a lazier method and rushed everything in the movie. I guess this is mostly because of the fact that it is shot for Wu Ma which was in desperate need of money.

If they didn't rush everything because of the reason given above, it really could have been a true John Woo classic like A Better Tomorrow, The Killer and Hard Boiled. This is what I call a missed opportunity.

Whatever your reason for not liking this movie might be but there is no denial that the finale shootout is awesome. This is John Woo and Heroic Bloodshed at its best. I'll surely watch it once again.

Please release this movie on DVD with remastered picture and subs so that other Hong Kong action movie fans get to watch this.
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9/10
An unheralded classic with a superb score
fertilecelluloid2 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Directed by John Woo and Wu Ma, this is an almost dream-like actioner with an over-the-top, operatic tone. Several passages -- the shoot-out at the gas station, the final assault on the house, the funeral -- are beautifully staged and possess an emotional resonance not always plentiful in exhibits of this genre.

The score, by regular Woo collaborators Romeo Diaz and James Wong (who also composed the devastating "Bullet in the Head" score) is truly one of the best and most moving of any Hong Kong film. Its more emotional cues -- the funeral, David Chaing's return from overseas, a reunion by the bay -- are piercingly effective and testament to the great talents of this highly underrated composing team.

The action scenes, which are not as elaborate as prior or later Woo works, are quiet stagey, but the final shoot-out in the house, where the participants play a weird game of cat and mouse, and where Woo's "A Better Tomorrow 1" is aped, is bloody and impressive.

The plotting is complex and the role of the women characters is vital to the drama. There is a heavy emphasis on character motivation throughout the entire affair, and a sense of fatalism permeates the film's gangster politics.

The film features Stephen Chow's acting debut (in a non-comedy role) and serves as a faux Shaw reunion with guest spots from Danny Lee, Ti Leung, Chiang and others.

The original trailer featured a graphic shot in which David Chiang slides across a warehouse floor and pumps lead into a hapless gunman. This, unfortunately, did not make the release cut.

Very highly recommended. An undiscovered classic.
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8/10
Just Heroes
kosmasp6 April 2007
What better summary line than the English title for the movie? I don't know if it is an accurate translation from the HK title, but more importantly: Why is there no release of this movie on a DVD yet? At least not in the western world and not an official one, as can be seen here at IMDb ...

Just Heroes is another Woo flick with his well known ingredients: Bloodshed, Heroism, loyalty and respect. The slow motion is thrown in there for good measure too! ;o) Of course it's something that a John Woo Film, can not be without! And although it might sound emotionless or apathetic, how I just list those things, the movie is a really good action film! It's not his best, but if you like his other better known HK offerings, you're gonna love this one too! :o)
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Very good film
Issic22 December 1998
The movie that Chang Cheh's disciples, John Woo, Wu Ma, and a host of others, put together to help their master ease the debts. Everywhere on the net I see all these people complaining about the film. After I watched it, I don't see why people would hate this, unless you're a diehard John Woo fanatic/macho person. Yes, women have a more prominent role in this film! They have an impact on the plot! They aren't just flower vases! "Just Heroes" (or "Tragic Heroes" if you like) borrows sections of "The Godfather", complete with the intrigue. Only complaint that I have is that the ending was a little rushed, which is to be expected since they were pressed for time, and at times the storyline pulls in all sorts of directions, but the gunfights were some of the best I have seen. The deconstruction of heroism was great, with the last few minutes powerfully hitting the mark. Great work for a film that was put together in a few weeks.
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7/10
a better tomorrow sequel that we never got
phanthinga3 February 2017
Like i say before the review this movie is a old fashioned Hong Kong action crime movie directed by John Woo with many familiar face of golden age of Hong Kong cinema like:David Chiang,Kuan Tai Chen, Lung Ti the holy trinity of kung-fu movie,Danny Lee from Woo masterpiece The Killer and surprisingly Stephen Chow whom used to play comedic role.It sometime get a little chessy with the dialogue,some homophobic aspect but the acting is good and some character actually very well written to the point that i really care about them in the end.The highlight of the movie still the John Woo violent shootout that you will see plenty of it although it not long and action heavy like Woo previous work but when it happen it very satisfied and awesome.Definitely not Woo best work but if you a fan of John Woo you will love it
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8/10
Bloodshed HAPPY!!!
ThyDavideth11 January 2017
Just Heroes should be called "Just Gangstazzz, Yo!" because, quite frankly, I don't get where the heroism is. It's stupid. Well, besides all that, this is one of John Woo's lesser known films. This was made to support Chang Cheh's broke *** but then Chang Cheh decided to use the money for another movie which I think was called Hidden Hero. I don't know. I'm not a film expert.

This movie is great with great guns fights and blood splashy mayhem. The story is a little bit disjointed but does have some nice twists and all that garbage. And, of course, if you are familiar with Shaw Brothers movies then you will see a lot of familiar faces. Ti Lung, David Chiang, Danny Lee (YES! HE! Remember Battle Wizard? Super Inframan? Mighty Peking Man? YOU BET YOUR ***, SUCKA!) and others. Though I liked this film a lot, it is in no way on the level of John Woo's other movies like A Better Tomorrow 1 & 2, The Killer, Bullet In The Head and Hard Boiled but at least it was better than Once A Thief. That movie sucked hard.

In conclusion: It's fun and bloody. And to point out Wu Ma directed around 40% of the movie so technically it's not John Woo's movie in it's entire state. So up yours.
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10/10
Lively gangster action with an all-star cast
Leofwine_draca9 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
JUST HEROES is a film that was apparently made due to an urgent need for money. Nothing new there in the filmmaking industry you might think, but apparently renowned Shaw Brothers director Chang Cheh was in financial difficulty and many of his friends decided to make this film and give him the proceeds. Despite this somewhat unorthodox production process, JUST HEROES turns out to be an excellent film in the Hong Kong gangster genre.

Things kick off on a great note in which director John Woo reveals his trademark slow-motion violence: we witness mob boss Wu Ma and his men attacking a turncoat, played by the delightful Phillip Ko, and a shoot-out on the dock ensues. After this, things slow down a great deal for a storyline which is reminiscent of King Lear: a mob boss dies and his three underlings fight over who'll take over the empire. The twist here is that one of those sons killed his own boss. The mystery is surprisingly complex and keeps you guessing, and I remember that the first time I saw this I was genuinely perplexed as to the identity of the villain.

There are the usual twists and turns and melodramatic moments that you'd expect, and an unusually high number of famous faces in the cast. Seemingly many of the famous Shaw Brothers stars came back to appear in this. Danny Lee, David Chiang, and Chen Kuan Tai play the feuding brothers, and they're supported by an excellent cast including the aforementioned Wu Ma and Phillip Ko, Shing Fui-on, Ti Lung, Lo Lieh, Fung Hark-On, Ku Feng, Bill Tung, Yueh Hua, Chiang Tao, Paul Chun, and a good, early role for the usually comedic Stephen Chow. It goes without saying that the acting is wonderful in this film and it's one of the most star-studded movies I've ever seen.

The story's watchable, too, and enlivened by the usual set-piece action, of which the climax - a massive shoot-out inside a sprawling mansion - is by far the best. Bodies are flung through breaking windows, riddled with machine gun bullets and people jump through the air firing weapons. It's one of those films where a single bullet never suffices and victims are always riddled before they bite it. I actually love the plentiful action scenes here as much I do in better-known Woo films like THE KILLER and HARD-BOILED. JUST HEROES might be a minor movie in the scheme of things, but I find it 100% entertaining and flawlessly made, and to that end it's one I keep returning to.
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Bridge Between ABT2 & The Killer
eibon0925 October 2001
John Woo gangster pic that involved the direction of a couple other people including Ma Wu and Danny Lee. Really the last Triad picture John Woo would do in his career because for one, The Killer is a hitman portrait film. Also, Bullet in the Head uses different genres to move the story along. Even Hard-Boiled which includes a triad gang war is a film that is looking from the outside. Yi Dan Qun Ying/Just Heroes(1987) is the last film for John Woo that focused on the insides and mentality of the triad organize crime society.

Closer in plot to Rich & Famous(1987) than the A Better Tomorrow films by John Woo. Very good action crime flick by John Woo that although flawed is much better than his Hollywood films of Broken Arrow(1996) and Mission:Impossible 2(2000). Suffers from some of the same flaws that was apparent in Heroes Shed no Tears(1985). Includes inconsistency in story, acting, and direction. Still Just Heroes(1987) is a worthwhile John Woo pic because of the excellent action set pieces.

Does bog down during the dramatic scenes but only in small doses. I find it interesting to see people who are supposedly close start setting up affinities with whoever will be the new boss of the gang. Deals with a gang war that begins after the elder boss abdicates his position of power due to being assassinated. The opening of Just Heroes(1987) sets the tone for what will happen for the rest of the film. Just Heroes(1987) is a Triad take on the King Lear story although not as grandeaur or magnificent as Akira Kurosawa's treatment of the same subject in Ran(1985).

At certain times the film becomes a satire of A Better Tomorrow(1986) and A Better Tomorrow 2(1987). In fact I feel that some of the ideas used in Just Heroes are left over from ABT and ABT2. One of the characters who is a protege of Wai(triad turned fisherman) fantasizes about being like Mark Gor from A Better Tomorrow(1986). He even recites some of Chow Yun Fat's famous lines from John Woo's breakthrough motion picture. The best parody is when the young man puts hand guns in flower pots just like Mark Gor during the resturant shootout in ABT.

A rare dramatic role for Hong Kong Comedy king, Stephen Chow who passes with flying colors. The main characters in Just Heroes(1987) like in the director's post ABT and pre Hollywood films are looking for spirital ablution in order to start anew. One of the few times in a Hong Kong film where Danny Lee does not portray a Police officer. The version of Just Heroes(1987) on video is missing the scene where before the ex-girlfriend of Wai dies she whispers to him of who is responsible for the death of the gang's late boss. Yi Dan Qun Ying/Just Heroes(1987) contains an awesome gunbattle that is one of John Woo's best in one of his HK films.
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1/10
Total waste of time.
heartofmetal15 December 2001
For fans of way-over-violent blood soakers,this movie has absolutely NOTHING to offer an intelligent movie viewer. I guess it's just a sad sign of the times that a waste of film(as well as Woo) gain public acceptance. Woo,Tarantino and such are the reason why murder is totally accepted and cheered on(as if it was a sport) in today's movies. Yes,it is shot interestingly but so are 1000's of foreign movies nowadays. This movie is simply a vehicle for violence,which I don't mind except when it is THIS overdone.It's untasteful and WAY overrated. It was a total waste of my time and will be yours as well unless you think that spitting in a man's face right before you shoot him in the face in cold blood is pretty cool and very funny. STAY AWAY FROM THIS SAD FLICK !
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