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Grim "un"reality of post-armageddon China April 20, 2003
6 out of 6 found this review helpful
This film's prequel, The Heroic Trio, end with a triumphant mood as the sexy trifecta of Wonder Woman, Invisible Girl and Thief Catcher make good and rid China of a demon from Hell who threatened the very existance of mankind. When Executioners opens, it would seem that no one was paying attention to the evil people who lived on Earth because China (and the rest of the world by extension) is devastated in a post-holocaustic setting without clean water and with very little future to look forward to. The Trio comes out of semi-retirement to battle the evil forces of monstrous megalomanics and military murderers. Throw in a couple of superhuman freaks and the battleground is set. But fans of Heroic Trio should be forewarned: even though Good must always defeat Evil, there are very few happy endings in Executioners. It's a very sad film that emphasizes the need for sacrifice in order to acheive the Greater Good. And this film has sacrifices in spades.
On the bright side, it's well acted and Anita Mui stands out in a stunning performance that features her mercurial beauty and her martial arts guile. Michelle Yeoh is Michelle Yeoh and there's no greater compliment than that. Maggie Cheung treats the film as though she's slumming with a B-script instead of starring in an A-level art film but she's still a treat whenever she's chewing up the scenery with her grumpy outbursts. Anthony Wong provides the necessary touches of Evil that make you yearn for the Heroic Trio to hasten his demise. Damian Yau will make you cry.
The music is, as always, a plus in any HK film that features Mui.
Don't sit back and expect a rollicking good time. This is heavy duty fare here. But's it's probably the most-layered and intense HK film that you'll see in a good long time.
NOT Charlies Angels July 11, 2001
3 out of 4 found this review helpful
A nuclear holocaust more or less wipes out civilization and non-contaminated drinking water becomes a scarce commodity. Throw in a lot of social upheaval, the inevitable corrupt government officials, the re-united Heroic Trio, and you get this film, where Maggie Cheung, Anita Mui, and Michelle Yeoh get together one last time to set things right. Sort of. Just be warned this film is syrupy even for Hong Kong Cinema, with lots of cloying sentimental singing over the scenes, crying little girls, destitute people, and butchered martyrs. On the brighter side, it has some truly hellish fights, with one of the three musketeers buying the farm in a manner that's grisly even for standard setting H.K. cinema. The villian is a real heavy who looks like Mankind, the professional wrestler and has a penchant and dispositon for slaughter that makes Freddy Kreuger look like a girl scout in comparison. If you're just getting into Honk Kong Cinema, this film might scare you away, if you're a devoted follower of the genre, you'll probably like it, if you're sitting on the proverbial fence, try something else like one the Chinese Ghost Story films, preferably III. All in all, I didn't really like it myself, although Michelle Yeoh never fails to impress, Anita Mui looked very sultry, and Maggie Cheung never looked better, even if her character was 99.999% attitude problem. Maggie also teaches us how to say "asshole" in Cantonese, which might come in handy in certain Chinese resteraunts where the service is really rude.
Classic flick with all the trimmings June 22, 2001
3 out of 3 found this review helpful
Its hard to say that this movie was awesome, but it was close. I enjoyed the performances of the actresses more than the plot. AS strange as this may seem, each of the stars, possed skills that set them apart from the others. Anita Mui gave an outstanding performance with her talents using the sword. Not to say that Michelle Yeoh and Maggie Cheung gave there best to make this movie a classic. But the movie dragged at points. THe women made the movie worth the view!
Unsatisfying sequel May 16, 2001
6 out of 7 found this review helpful
A very unsatisfying sequel to the wonderful "Heroic Trio." The movie is dark and quite frankly very depressing. Three of the most likable major characters die horribly. Defeat and darkness seem to be the major themes here. There are also other problems; the villain is unbelievably silly, even by HK action movie standards. Master Kim, the villain, spends much of his time in the movie talking to a severed head. Michelle Yeoh is barely in the movie, and much of Anita Mui's screentime is limited to domestic scenes with her husband, who apparently has forbidden her to be Wonder Woman now that she has a child. Maggie Cheung has to carry a lot of the plot (such as it is) as a result, and she's definitely not up to the task in this movie. Instead of appearing scrappy and self-reliant, as in Heroic Trio, her character in "Executioners" comes off as shrill, mean-spirited, and not very bright.
But I don't know if anyone could have worked with this ruin of a plot. Even by HK action standards, the plot is lacking. Several of the most interesting plot threads that began in Heroic Trio (the fact that Wonder Woman and Invisible Girl are sisters, for example) are dropped completely or handled poorly in this movie. The characters are denied the depth and humanity they could have had. The actresses (for the most part) do the best they can with the script (except for Cheung, who really is not very likable here), but the overall pessimism and ugliness eventually overwhelms them - and everyone else in the movie.
Overall, this sequel is very disappointing. I can wholeheartedly recommend "Heroic Trio," but not this movie. Fans of the first film would be well advised to give this one a pass. There's really nothing to recommend this depressing, sludgy mess.
two hours of my life I'll never get back May 7, 2001
3 out of 5 found this review helpful
I don't know what it is about this movie, but it's horrible. That's a particularly sad thing to say after Heroic Trio is one of the best Hong Kong movies in a long time. I'm not sure if I'm annoyed with Michelle Yoeh's prolonged death or her prolonged presence with nothing to do for the rest of the movie, or the fact that the husband is killed 20 minutes into the movie.
It's not just that this is one of the dumber Hong Kong movies I've seen, it's also that it had a potential to be really great. It has great stars, it's a sequel to an amazing movie and it just falls flat. Too many places where nothing's happening, dumb jokes, awful musical montages and the fight scenes don't excite me.
Nothing really to recommend in this movie. I suppose if you are a diehard fan of Anita Mui, Michelle Yoeh or Maggie Cheung (whose better in Green Snake) watch it, but be prepared to be disappointed.