[box cover]

The Heroic Trio

The Heroic Trio (or "Tong fong sam hop") (1992) is the kind of movie that makes you want to read the comic book it's based on. Unfortunately it can't be found, but director Johnny To (whose excellent 1999 film The Mission is to remade stateside) sure makes it seem like there's one. Anita Mui plays Tung, who's married to a police inspector by day but becomes the superhero Shadow Fox (or Wonder Woman if you've rented the HK version) by night. It seems someone has been stealing babies, and the Fox chases the invisible culprit Number 3 (Michelle Yeoh, in the HK version Invisible Woman), a woman working for a supernatural Evil Master (Yee Kwan Yan) who wants the babies in order to determine who will be the next emperor. In the middle is Mercy (Maggie Cheung, called Thief Catcher in the HK version), who accepts a bounty from the police chief in order to find his kidnapped son, but once was one of the evil master's minions. Action packed and fun, The Heroic Trio constantly hops from one action or emotional crescendo to another. Thanks to a near-relentless enthusiasm, it's the sort of film that perfectly illustrates why there are legions of young American men out there who will watch anything that ever came out of Hong Kong. Unfortunately, Buena Vista has done both fanboys and casual viewers a service and disservice in this release. The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1), and it's never looked this good on home video in any version. In fact, the transfer is so strong at points that the wire in "wire fu" is made obvious. But while the soundtrack is presented in Dolby 2.0 Surround (and no artificial rap soundtrack has been added), the picture has been shorn from its original 102-minute running time to 85 minutes, and it's dubbed with an English language track. Extras are limited to previews. Keep-case.

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