During the warlords era in China, a village located in rural area called Pucheng fell into dangerous situation when its government allocated all its military force to the front line, the cruel commandant Cao from the enemy troops arrived the village and killed the innocent, the guardians of Pucheng were desperate to fight against Cao for justice and to protect their homeland.
A stand-up and be counted old-fashioned wuxia flick
The story is too straight without any guile. Set in 1914 following the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the film tells the story of a group of villagers standing up to a cruel young warlord. It stands knee deep in hero-talk, melodrama and posturing. The story is not memorable but it hearkens me back to the Shaw classic no-nonsense wuxia films of the yester-years. Those are great years.
Sean Lau, the ever dependable actor, makes all the skull-numbing hero-speeches feel like nuggets of wisdom. Eddie Peng actually has a slight breakthrough with his wandering hobo character, adding delightful charm and comic relief. Wu Jing, who proved in SPL 2 that he can carry a movie on his own, puts in an unstated performance. His and Peng's back story is one of the highlights of the movie. Louis Koo, probably HK's busiest actor, lays on the ham with extra cheese and froth. His portrayal of the warlord nearly crosses into parody. But please take my words with a pinch of salt because I probably don't know anything. When Koo finally gets his comeuppance, the people around me were actually cheering.
The one thing I hate the most in kungfu movies is the CGI-created landscape and all the impossible kungfu moves made possible by CGI. Special effects is the shite in martial arts films. Call of Heroes doesn't do that and it is good old action stunt work and wire-fu. Sammo Hung's action choreography here is excellent. There are two particular set-pieces, a fight on a bamboo-cage bridge and one on a mountain of clay urns, that are stand-outs.
The studios don't make movies like this anymore - a stand-up and be counted old- fashioned wuxia flick.
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