Congratulations to Dimension for releasing a poor film, and doing a very poor job on it. Few companies have shown the ineptitude and ignorance to ruin and dilute classic HK titles and turn them into these disastrous excuses for action cinema. In Dimension's defense, I can only say that they had little to work with, on one of Jet's weaker offerings since his purple patch in the early 90's. This film was originally released as My Father is a Hero in 1995 and took HK $15,530,000 at the box office during a 5 week run. This film came immediately after the classic Fist of Legend and was his second collaboration with Director Corey Yuen (along with the Defender), since their memorable Fong Sai Yuk series.
Yu Ron Guang puts in a caricature bad guy performance which is ultimately disappointing, and Ken Lo is virtually anonymous as one of the bad guys who Jet has to fight at the end. Both of them are responsible for two of the defining moments of 90's HK cinema and probably victims of their own success: Yu Rong Guang starred as the Iron Monkey and Ken Lo played the flash kicking fighter in the climax of Drunken Master 2. It is very likely neither will ever top these moments of cinematic excellence and we can only look disappointedly on at these substandard offerings. Anita Mui, like Ken had her finest moment in Drunken Master 2 and had just completed the entertaining Jackie vehicle: Rumble in the Bronx before this project. She is poorly miscast as the concerned policewoman. The other lead is played by Tze Miu (who was 10 at the time) who had also costarred a year earlier with Jet in New Legend of Shaolin.
What a Hero...
A choking scene
Double Tonfa - best part of film
As with many films I review, I shall not dwell too long on the plot. This is one of Jet's films that is aimed a lot more at a younger audience and is both more simplistic and clichéd as a result. Kung Wei (Jet) is an undercover cop and his wife is dying. He hardly spends anytime with his kid; Kung Ku (Tze Miu) who is a kung fu champion. Jet has to go to Hong Kong to infiltrate Po Kwong's (Yu Ron Guang's) gang but Anita Mui is the super cop who at first thinks Jet is a bad guy so she goes to China to check out his house. She finds his son and wife and who have been humiliated as Jet is wanted by the police and soon the wife dies (very very slowly ... and it's raining outside). Then Anita takes Kung Ku to Hong Kong to find his father and begins to realise he is not a bad guy but a good guy undercover. Whilst this is happening, Jet is going through the: "He's a cop, let's kill him boss!"
Then Jet has to do something to prove he's not a cop and win over the loyalty of the boss, very tedious and annoying. It is a poorly derived movie which is short on action till the last 15 minutes and has too much time spent with sentimentalism from Jet, Anita and Tze Miu. There are also some massive plot flaws, such as when Yu Rong Guang manages to pick up Jet's kid on the streets of Hong Kong by sheer chance?
Oh, and Anita clearly moves in on the dead wife's territory only a few days after she passes away. She wastes no time in becoming the 'new mother' of the family, so it's a really happy ending (ermm ... apart from the dead wife).
For the action in this movie there are only about three main sequences of note. The first is in a restaurant and is largely gun fighting which is not done too badly but apart from a few flash moves from Jet, is largely forgettable. Next is a truck scene where Jet and Guang fight in an alley and Jet is nearly run over a truck, but he isn't. There is little else worth saying about it. The final climax (if that's the right word), involves Jet, Anita and Tze taking on a shipload of baddies which is where Ken Lo gets a couple of minutes of action alongside Guang and Ngai Sing. The one moment of entertainment from this film occurs with the double tonfa scene. This starts off really well but ends up with people on wires flying about after being hit by Jet which is too exaggerated to be entertaining. It is not in the same league of Tonfa fighting as Spiritual Kung Fu, Shaolin Challenges Ninja or Born Invincible. Then Jet and kid start fighting with ropes which just looks a bit silly and the coup de gras involves Jet tying the rope round his son and using him as a human lasso / boomerang. This really, really sucks and is possibly the low point of Corey Yuen's career?
This, as mentioned earlier is another shocker from the Disney owned Dimension / Buena Vista branch. The dubbing is some of the worst ever and completely does not suit Jet at all. Furthermore, a lot of the redone sound is out of sync with the action which detracts even more from the spectacle. There is no second language, absolutely no extras, a pretty poor print and it is 5 minutes shorter than the Mei Ah version. Plus, it has been horribly renamed for the US market, as My Father is a Hero is not ACTION TITLE enough!
This film needs little summing up. It is nowhere near the best of any
of the performers in this movie (Jet, Anita, Guang, Ken Lo, and Corey
Yuen) and the plot is another clichéd undercover cop flick with
an annoying kid as joint lead. The only people I would recommend this
to are the people who have seen little beyond normal Hollywood action
junk, because at least it would maybe get people into Jet's earlier movies
that are far superior. Once again, Disney really messed up another title,
but at least this time it was for a mediocre film.
Artwork for the Mei Ah version