"If you're a fan of slick entertainment, great dialogue, and want to see one of Hong Kong's best kept cinematic secrets, then, by all means, watch this film."
- Mighty Peking Man
People's Hero (1987)
Director: Derek Yee Tung-Sing
Producer: John Shum Kin-Fun
Cast: Ti Lung, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Elaine Kam Yin-Ling, Paul Chun Pui, Ronald Wong Ban, Bowie Lam Bo-Yi, Benz Kong To-Hoi, Ho Pooi-Yi, Lai Siu-Fong, Tin Ching, Teddy Yip Wing-Cho, Gam Biu, Wong Hung, Lee Ga-Sai
Running Time: 82 min.
Plot: Two young street punks decide to rob a bank at the same time as a hardened criminal. As tension mounts between the three, a police stand-off ensues with the lives of many hostages hanging in the balance.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: I'm probably the 200th person to mention that Derek Yee's "People's Hero" is a lot like Sidney Lumet's 1975 Heist film "Dog Day Afternoon." There's a reason for that... IT IS! I'm not going to get into critical details to why I think this or why I think that... I'm aware that there are key differences between the two films, but trust me, they are essentially the same film. Anyone who thinks otherwise is full of shit.
Here's the basic plot without any spoilers (promise): Two dorks (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Ronald Wong) decide to rob a bank. Things start to go wrong and they find themselves trapped inside surrounded by an army of Hong Kong policemen. To make matter worse, one of the hostages turns out to be a ruthless murderer (Ti Lung) who ultimately takes over the whole situation with his own personal motives.
If you want to see John Woo-type shoot em' ups (forgive me for using that cliche bullshit line), or any sort of action, you'll be disappointed. If you're a fan of slick entertainment, great dialogue, and want to see one of Hong Kong's best kept cinematic secrets, then, by all means, watch this film.
The performances are stellar. It's great to see a young Tony Leung Chiu-Wai in action. Even back then, the guy was just as intense and charismatic as he is today. Same goes for Shaw Veteran Ti Lung and to a lesser extent, Tony Leung Ka-Fai (who plays a negotiating cop), since he doesn't have any major scenes that really stand out. It's not surprising that People's Hero won a couple of Hong Kong film awards for Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Elaine Kam's acting.
And remember, whether you loved or hated, watched or didn't watch - or even thought Dog Day Afternoon was just "okay" - I still highly recommend People's Hero.
Oh, and to all you whiny "Hollywood-Likes-To-Steal-From-Asian-Movies" assholes? I give this Asian "copycat" film a perfect 10. So, uh, fuck off. Originality isn't what makes a great movie, it's the filmmaker's execution. Got that?
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 10/10