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Tragic Hero
cast: Chow Yun-fat, Andy Lau, Danny Lee, Alex Man, and Carina Lau

director: Taylor Wong

88 minutes (18) 1987 widescreen ratio 16:9
MIA DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Jeff Young
This Asian gangster thriller is a sequel to Taylor Wong's Rich And Famous (1986), and both films are clearly inspired by The Godfather saga. Chow Yun-fat returns as Chai, head of a crime family threatened by villainous triad leader Yung (Alex Man), whose sharp-suited henchmen are the embodiment of corporate greed, while Chai struggles to retain honourable values despite extreme provocation. The escalating feud between these two men results in a several violent deaths, as lingering resentment turns to double-crossing betrayal when Yung gets help from Chai's own tame police chief.
   The great Danny Lee hits the mark in a relatively minor role as the lone honest cop, Superintendent Chang, in a corrupt system, wisely turning a blind eye to the hero's revenge during the ballistic mayhem of a final showdown. Carina Lau (who featured in such films as Saviour Of The Soul, Armour Of God, and She Shoots Straight) plays the doomed Hui Chu, perhaps the nearest the film has to a proper heroine, while Pauline Wong turns in a notable performance as Chui's wife Chui, the object of wicked Yung's lust.
   Tragic Hero (aka: Ying hung ho hon) lacks the thematic coherence of John Woo's classic A Better Tomorrow films but, nonetheless, it is considerably more than just a collection of breathtaking action set pieces. Taylor Wong is not among Hong Kong's best exponents of this film's heroic bloodshed subgenre, but he has made a few interesting and successful pictures, including a romantic ghost story, Spiritual Love (1987), and the engaging fantasy thriller Deadly Dream Woman (1992).
   The DVD presents both an anamorphic widescreen Cantonese original with re-mastered English subtitles, plus an English dubbed version (full-frame 4:3) with Dolby digital 2.0 soundtrack. Disc extras: stills gallery, exclusive biographies and filmographies for the main cast and director, and three trailers, including one for Rich And Famous.
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