Just Heroes    (1989) 

                                                                                                             Magnum Films Limited    


                                     Cast:  John Chiang (David Chiang), Danny Lee, Chen Kuan Tai (Chan Koon Tai), Stephen 

                          Chow Sing Chi, Wu Ma, Tien Niu, Cally Kwong, James Wong, Shing Fui On, Joe Ngai Chun,

                                     Kelly Chu, Parkman WongChiang Tao, Joe Nieh, Cheng Kang Yeh, James Ha


                                            Cameo:  Philip Ko Fei, John Chang, Ti Lung, Ku Feng, Yueh Hua, Paul Chun Pui, Lau Ka Wing, 

                                     Wong Shee Tong, Tien Ching, Tang Chia, Lo Lieh, Cheng Lui (Cheng Lei), Yuen Woo Ping, Bill Tung Pui

                                                                        Tina Chin Fei, Fung Hak On, Yi Fan Wai, Chan Kwok Kuen, Rico Chu


                                                              Writer:   Ni Kuang, Tommy Hau        Music:  Romeo Diaz, James Wong             

                                                             Associate Producer:  John Chiang, Danny Lee        Producer:  Tsui Hark

                                                                                           Director:   John Woo, Wu Ma (Ng Ma)

                                                                            Genre:  Gangs | Drama | Action          Length:  102 minutes       


                                              "Maybe I'm pessimistic. Time goes on, but fightings never stop."


                          Firstly, there's two things wrong with the title. Just Heroes doesn't have any actual heroes in it, 

                                    but the characters are presented as such. Made in 1989 between John Woo's watershed films 

                                       A Better Tomorrow and The Killer, it has a similar feel to those movies, but is far blander 

                                                  overall. Sharing directing duties with Woo is Wu Ma, who also co-stars.

                            Apparently the film was made as a tribute/benefit for Chang Cheh, which would make sense     

                                  considering how many of Cheh's friends and colleagues appear in the film. What we have here is

                                  a purely generic gangster picture. A gang boss is assassinated, and internal power struggles over 

                                                his successor and suspected traitorship causes division within the organization. 

                           Only men could make, or even enjoy this kind of movie. It's saturated with all the brotherhood 

                                  crap from Woo's other movies, with women playing peripheral roles of little significance. It's sad

                                          to see actors like Chen Kuan Tai and David Chiang in such uninspiring roles, paling in 

                                                                                          comparison to their former greatness. 
                          Just Heroes is just a soap opera held together by several explosive gunfights and some popsicle 

                                    sticks. The opening battle takes place at a boat dock, then there's a night battle in a quarry, a 

                                   scene where Danny Lee and David Chiang team up in a drug refining factory, and a final battle 

                                         in a mansion. The only humorous moments derive from Joe Ngai Chun's character, a kid

                                                    infatuated with the gang lifestyle who quotes lines from his favorite mob flick- 

                                                                                                            A Better Tomorrow. 

                           After over an hour and a half of baloney and bloodshed, Just Heroes redeems itself a tiny bit 

                                 with one pertinent line of dialogue. During a climactic standoff in the film's finale, a character says, 
                                   "You can kill me, but it doesn't mean you are good guys. In fact, we are all shits." 




                             Related viewing:  A Better Tomorrow (1986)  Chow Yjn Fat, Ti Lung, Leslie Cheung

                                                                                           The Killer (1989)  Chow Yun Fat, Danny Lee, Sally Yeh 



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