Directed by Benny Chan
Produced by Yuen Kam-lun
Written by Ho Tung
Cast: Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Michael Chan, Shing Fui-On, Nick Cheung, Anthony Wong, Roy Cheung, Paul Chun and Wu Fung
What a Hero!” is a Hong Kong action film starting ever popular Andy Lau and the now semi-retired actress, Maggie Cheung from the great year of 1992 which was filled with many amazing Hong Kong films. Sadly, What A Hero doesn’t reach the annals of those great films, but I don’t think it was ever intended to be either, What A Hero is quite a generic film in design and doesn’t do too much to separate itself from the bunch.
Yuen Tak-wah, a Taekwondo practitioner from the secluded island of
Lamma Island gets the chance to be a cop in Hong Kong. But his efforts to become a great cop earns the ire and jealousy of a superior officer Cheung Yeung while he must worry about losing the love of his life to an undeserving suitor. This interpersonal rivalry between the two ends up creating a major conflict between the two that must be solved in a Taekwondo match.
If there was any intention of anything serious about this film I can see behind this film, the only thing I can think it is an attempt to be some kind of a character study of an idealistic country bumpkin who becomes more harden after adjusting to the realities of the city life. But the film isn’t dramatic or written well enough for anything like this. It follows the typical beats of many Hong Kong cop films of the time. Comedy in typical Hong Kong fashion or Cantonese style, it is very wacky and just down right vulgar. But there is a joke about Yuen Tak-wah’s coworker having a crush on his mother that went on for a little too long for my liking. Not to mention, the sheer implications of which made me a bit uncomfortable. And I am not the prudish type. The segments on Lamma Island almost feel like scenes from a different movie thrown in so it feels disjointed to the main narrative, these segments served to flesh out Yuen Tak-wah’s character. Maggie Cheung’s character is a strange one; her performance is quite solid in this that it earns your sympathy, but her character like the Lamma Island segments seems at odds with the segments in the city tonally. This aspect isn’t helped by the fact that Yuen Tak-wah himself tends to act a bit different in each place. It just makes the film a very disjointed experience. After the fierce shootout in the police station and Yuen’s romance with Maggie Cheung’s character being resolved, the final Taekwondo match ends up feeling a little too anti-climatic. Most of this film falls into the ”forgettable” category, the comedy is decent but easily surpassed.The action is the same, but one scene in a neon-heavy club is worthy of your attention.
I will say only watch if you are a big fan of the either of the lead actors.