HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birth of the Dragon
Revenge of the Pink Panther
Thelma
Stratton
February
Taking of Beverly Hills, The
Marjorie Prime
Hotel Salvation
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  Heroic Ones, The Buy this film here.
Year: 1970
Director: Chang Cheh
Stars: David Chiang, Ti Lung, Chin Han, Li-li Li, Nan Kung-Hsun, Bolo Yeung
Genre: Drama, Action, Martial Arts, Historical
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Just as the Emperor’s party is becoming a drunken orgy, a bearer of bad news walks in – Meng and his warriors are outside the city gates. Nonplussed by this, the Emperor wakes one of his 13 sons, Chun Xiao, who’s currently sleeping off a night on the piss. Chun seems even more nonplussed; calmly he nips outside, and before the clock strikes noon he’s returned dragging Meng’s strangled corpse behind him. When Chun leads his brothers into battle against an enemy emperor, the simmering sibling rivalry begins to boil, and Brothers 4 and 12 (they often refer to each other by number) sneak off to a rival warlord, treacherous Ming-er Lord Zhu, and rebel against their own flesh and blood…

And that’s just half the story – almost as soon as this two-hour epic crosses the half-way mark, Chang Cheh’s The Heroic Ones starts to degenerate into absolute chaos. Yeah, sure, the first part is littered with super-fast displays of sword, spear, arrow and pitchfork-play here and there, but it’s nothing compared to what’s later in store. Fighting off chain-wielding ninjas… twenty of Zhu’s finest swordsmen… Chun’s ludicrous, gory, spaghetti-western demise… the final, explosive battle. It’s hard to believe this was made in 1970, long before kung-fu made complex, high-octane fighting mandatory.

But The Heroic Ones’ main problem lies with its somewhat mediocre script. In fact it just about manages to hold together the first half’s comparatively few action sequences. It isn’t a particularly complex plot, and has no intention of being either – the most obvious example being a half-baked attempt to introduce a little romantic interest for Chun, which quickly proves itself to be completely inconsequential. And humour – forget it! Roy Walker would no doubt offer an entire week’s wage to get his hands on the few middle-of-the-road stinkers on offer here!

But then, a mediocre script can usually be saved by a variety of interesting, colourful characters, something that The Heroic Ones is blatantly lacking. Apart from the Mongolian Dick Dastardly, General Zhu, all the characters are incredibly dull – the brothers themselves being the worst offenders; they look the same, dress the same and refer to each other by number – Jesus, I’ve seen better examples of individuality during Brownshirt night at the local Conservative club! And whilst the mammoth battle scenes are admittedly impressive, their huge scale makes them kind-of impersonal, nothing like your typical one-on-one kung-fu duel. So much is going on at once, it’s hard to single out favourite fights and fighters, and it all becomes one adrenaline-pumped blur. Like a bad night on the piss – you have a great time but when its over you don’t have a fucking clue what happened.

If you’re a die-hard martial-arts fan with the strength and courage to chew through a plateful of plain-noodles before getting the sizzling stir-fry, then The Heroic Ones could be for you – but everyone else looking for more orthodox, straightforward chop-sockey action would be advised to try something a lot less adventurous.

Aka Sap Saam Taai Bo, Shaolin Masters, Shi San Tai Bao, Thirteen Fighters, Thirteen Warlords
Reviewer: Wayne Southworth

 

This review has been viewed 5249 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
The Elix
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
   

 

Last Updated: