China has devolved into a patchwork of competing military governates following the dissolution of the Qing Dynasty. As Marshal Cho, the son of a military governor, wanders around the area of Shitoucheng indiscriminately killing and robbing from civilians, a school-teacher named Ms Pak flees with her students, and along with other refugees are admitted into Pucheng, which belongs to another governor. Since the soldiers of Pucheng are away on a campaign, authority falls to Colonel Yeung, leader of the militia. A few days later, Cho, who derives pleasure from random killings, enters Pucheng alone and murders Pak, her cousin, and one of her students. He is quickly arrested and sentenced to death, but his father’s soldiers arrive and demand his release. When Yeung refuses to give in, and threatens to kill Cho on the spot, the soldiers declare that Yeung must release Cho in the morning, or else the entire town will be killed.
-Wikipedia (Click here for full article)
As you can see, life in 1914 China kinda sucks. People in power prey on the poor and kinda just like murdering people. Where’s the Monkey King when you need’em? Aha! Lucky for the villagers (I guess), a wandering martial artist, teams with the sheriff of Pucheng and a handful of skilled warriors to protect the people. Question is will it be enough?
Call of Heroes is a superbly choreographed, brutally shot motion picture. Lots of real, gruesome, lighting-quick deaths occur on screen and the movie only really pauses to give the characters left alive time to grieve. Sad for them, but for me and my daughter (my date for the evening), it made for somewhat compelling viewing.
Sheriff Yang is a stoic, sturdy individual. A true hero in every sense of the word, and even to the detriment of the people of Pucheng. The moral quadry is as follows:
Let the son of a warlord go free, after he’s mercilessly killed three people?
Or justly execute him according to the law, and then be wiped out by his father’s army?
Understandably, Yang and the people of Pucheng really had differing opinions on what to do (LOL). While I can certainly understand the sheriff’s insistence on doing the ‘right’ thing even if it kills him. His blatant lack of regard for his people (let’s all die together, I think is uttered at least once or twice) is unsettling. However, what’s to say this nut isn’t going to try and murder you all anyway as soon as he is released? Huh? What? Exactly?
How you liking your spot between a rock and a hard place? Sheesh.
At any rate, once the die has been cast, and the fertilizer hits the fan; Sammo Hung’s magical touch for kung-fu heroics completely turns things up to 11. From the battle on the spiked bridge, to the former friends duking it out upon an enormous moutain of clay pottery. The kicks and punches fly fast and hard! Although the narrative is well-worn and lacking any real suspense–the acrobatics and bloodshed really take on the heavy lifting for the last half hour of this picture. This isn’t a must-see, but fans of Sammo Hung’s action style and good’ol kung fu will appreciate the setting and set pieces I think.