Today’s Hero: ”I must let everyone know me.”

Year: 1991
Directed by Yip Shing-Hong
Produced by Jeffrey Lau
Written by Jeffrey Lau and Hoh Dung

Cast: Kenny Bee, Maggie Cheung, Meg Lam , Rico Chu Tak-On, Hui Siu-Hung, Shing Fui-On, Jacqueline Law, Chen Kuan-Tai and Lee Siu-Kei

A careless loafer unable to find a job has only 30 days to live after he is diagnosed with a deadly case of Parkinson’s Disease. Then, he decides to make himself a local hero.

Kenny Bee’s Smartie is a man without an aim in life. His directionless existence and get rich quick schemes goes nowhere. Smartie freeloads off his caring sister which irritates his overbearing brother in law to no end. Smartie’s life takes a turn for the worst when he has one month left to live. Today’s Hero might fool you into it thinking its some kind of a tear-jerker waiting to happen. Or, it might shift into a tear-jerker later on. However, the tone is decidedly nonchalant which renders the emotional stakes of Smartie’s dilemma largely moot.

Yet, like its hero, Smartie, Today’s Hero is too much involved in the moment to worry about the long term consequences of anything. It puts its antics over anything else. The drama even at the expense of the antics. Although the antics do vary in quality. Some make you just chuckle, others make you roll your eyes and others are plain genius. Smartie just moves from one entanglement to the next. Each one make you wondering just how much absurdity a supposed dying man can scheme up. The best of the absurdity is when Smartie puts in a pistol in his nether regions during a hostage situation in a supermarket. Reckless endangerment is Smartie’s modus operandi.

Despite being largely one-note,Kenny Bee delivers a great performance that makes Smartie an apparent loser with one foot in the grave a heroic figure of sorts.Smartie moves and acts without fear of any immediate danger. Maggie Cheung is thrown in as Smartie’s love interest, Annie. But, you wouldn’t be at fault, for thinking she was making just a cameo since she is hardly in the first hour. Annie’s romance with Smartie is forced and too rushed to be even serviceable. Her role in Today’s Hero is just another thankless role that she had during her career.

Today’s Hero despite an interesting sounding premise is underwhelming. It is mainly an one’s man show of Kenny Bee delivering Mo lei tau humor. But, it fails to develop a strong plot or any sense of a drama to be captivating. So, a milk toast slapstick adventure that fails to reach the potential of its premise.

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