Bullet Points: The Heroic Trio
“The case of the missing babies has been solved.”
Those words are actually uttered by a reporter at the end of the film and if that sounds like something that you might hear on a local news station where you’re from then you should seriously consider moving into a new neighborhood.
Director Johnnie To had one obvious goal while making The Heroic Trio and that was to turn up the crazy on each scene from the lackluster beginning to the “am I high” ending. Each successive action scene appears to have been directed by a man who was undergoing what I like to call the “Colonel Kurtz Syndrome”. If you’re not aware of this Marlon Brando-inspired condition then you’ve either never seen Apocalypse Now or you, yourself have been afflicted by the disease. The other possibility was that Johnnie To was on some Gary Busey level drugs!
- Synopsis: A demonic plan to kidnap babies using invisible cloaks and create some sort of immortal emperor hits a bit of a snag when a trio of ass-kicking ladies step up to save the little ones. Led by the heroic Shadowfox, the mercenary bad girl Mercy and the recently possessed Ching team up to save the future of China.
- Invisible Baby Thieves: That could be either a really rad Death Metal band or a right-winged protestor’s picket line sign for Planned Parenthood.
- Are you here to help or not?: Early in the film, Shadowfox shows up to stop the invisible thief from stealing a couple of babies. Somewhere in her train of thought, throwing knives at them entered her mind and the babies go from falling from an impossibly tall building to falling from an impossibly tall building while having knives thrown at them. Thanks Shadowfox.
- How much have I had to drink?: The action scenes got so crazy at points that it had me questioning just how drunk I was getting. In one scene, the character Mercy places some dynamite into an empty barrel and rides it like some sort of lady daredevil through the air at her enemies. Think that sounds cool? Well, the same girl rides shotgun (both figuratively and literally firing a shotgun) on a motorcycle as it spins uncontrollably through the air while blasting away with her double barreled shotgun.
- A Master of Any Weapon: When they talk about “Number 9” and how tough he is, they never tell you about his specialty weapon that he flings around with deadly accuracy. It isn’t until he pops up in a downtown train station that we get to see him wield his flying cage guillotine. If that doesn’t make sense, let me try to explain: it’s a head-sized cage with blades around the neck of it, attached to a long chain, that when wielded can act as a guillotine and slice a person’s head clean off. Imagine the amount of training it takes to figure that one out.
- Machine Gun-Fu: We’ve all heard it before, “You know kung fu? Well I know gun fu. BANG!” Only this time imagine a woman fighting in close combat with a handful of guys but instead of using her hands and feet like most martial artists do, she wields a full-sized machine gun. Blasting away at each dude as they throw round house kicks and try to sweep her leg, to no avail.
- Is it over yet?: As I said before, The Heroic Trio gets super weird and as a viewer you’ll be left wondering when and how this movie can possibly end and not be disappointing. In the end, we’re given a Terminator-style finish where the demon is stop motion walking around with his brain pulsing about and basically attaches himself to the body of Michelle Yeoh and kicks her partners asses while controlling her limbs. If that sounds like “a little too much” for you then you’re probably not going to be a fan of this movie.
Could there possibly be more Bullet Points?
- If you want to get me interested in a movie, just put Maggie Cheung, Anita Mui, and especially Michelle Yeoh in very tight superhero outfits.
- The demon dude who I don’t remember the name of uses a technique that I’ve never seen before; he fires an entire belt of bullets from his hands!
- Not much is made of it during the movie, but a baby dies from falling on a nail. That’s a pretty dark thing to happen in a movie that is more fun than dark.
The Verdict: The Heroic Trio lends itself to the possibility of numerous drinking games being played while watching the movie. Maybe you drink every time someone mentions “saving the babies”, or how about taking a shot every time a character should have definitely died from their wounds but didn’t. I prefer to do my drinking sans games but some level of alcohol is needed to make it through the first part of The Heroic Trio. I just watched it less than 48 hours ago and I’m still not sure what happened during the first 30 minutes. It’s not a terrible movie, though. Strange as hell, yes, but it certainly gets better as it progresses towards its unlikely and seriously messed up ending.