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Call of Heroes (2016)

AKA: The Deadly Reclaim
Director: Benny Chan
Script: Benny Chan
Action Director: Sammo Hung
Producers: Benny Chan, Alvin Lam
Stars: Lau Ching-Wan, Louis Koo, Eddie Peng, Yuan Quan, Maggie Jiang, Liu Kai-Chi, Wu Jing

Call of Heroes

Benny Chan isn't a household name, but as a director, he's been behind quite a few good movies, including Big Bullet, Who Am I?, and Invisible Target. His latest release, the Mainland/Hong Kong co-production Call of Heroes, teams him with the legendary Sammo Hung as the action director and has a solid cast, featuring Lau Ching-Wan (billed as Sean Lau), Louis Koo, Eddie Peng, and (Jacky) Wu Jing. Does the end result match up to the fairly impressive pedigree?

Call of Heroes

For the most part, the answer is yes, though the story itself really isn't all that exciting. Derivative of several other films, most notably Rio Bravo, the plot centers on sheriff Lau taking a corrupt official (Koo) into custody and then having to protect a town from an increasing amount of attacks by groups of bandits trying to free the prisoner. There isn't any new ground tread here, and both the actors and director seem to be on auto-pilot a bit, with the exception of Koo, who delivers a bizarrely over the top performance. Yes, we get that his character is crazy, but does he have to act so, well... crazy? Koo isn't just chewing the scenery here. He's acting like a malnourished sufferer of a vicious intestinal tapeworm being thrown into the front of the line of a Vegas buffet and it's crab legs night. God bless the guy, he's really trying and I appreciate the effort, but it comes off as hammy and threatens to totally derail the movie at points. It's hard to be scared of a villain you're laughing at unintentionally.

Call of Heroes

Business does pick up on the action side of the equation, though, as you might expect from a picture with Sammo Hung attached to it. Lau Ching-Wan has never really been known for his fists of fury, but he looks good here and is able to establish himself as someone that can carry out his own style of heavy-handed vengeance. The other cast members excel in this department as well, and there are several outstanding fights throughout the film, with the best being a knock-down drag-out brawl between Eddie Peng and Wu Jing, which represents some of the best martial arts work to come out of Hong Kong in the last several years.


This movie has been released uncut in North America by Well Go USA. It is available on VOD, DVD, and Blu-ray from Amazon. The disc-based versions include Cantonese and Mandarin soundtracks with English subtitles. Extras consist of a behind the scenes featurette and trailers for the film and other Well Go releases.

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