On the face of it, a silly little movie, but upon watching, and appreciation of the talent on display an utter delight, well worthy of the cult status it enjoys.
“The Heroic Trio” is I suppose a superhero movie. Wonder Woman (Anita Mui) is a housewife (of a Police Inspector) by day and a costumed crime fighter by night. The city is paralysed by a number of baby kidnappings. These turn out to be masterminded by a eunuch-demon, who has deliberately chosen potential Emperors of China. He is assisted by Kau (Anthony Wong), a rather creepy mute engine of destruction, and the Invisible Girl (Michelle Yeoh). Bursting onto the scene is Thief Catcher (Maggie Cheung), a more mercenary kind of hero, in it for the money, and not caring who she hurts to attain her goals.
It turns out that Yeoh has connections in her past to both Mui and Cheung, and eventually she is convinced to turn against her master, and the three fight together to save the day.
Helmed by the now much lauded Jonnie To, this is early 90’s Hong Kong Cinema at its best. Beautiful cinematography, often through that blue filter so beloved at the time. The pace is breakneck, the tone is sometimes comic, and sometimes quite horrific (It would in another reality be a family film, but 2 scenes make it rather disturbing – one child gets a nail through the head, and others are being turned into cannibals). It still is able to spend time working on some emotional and character moments, doing more in its 88 minutes than many a film manages in nearer two hours.
All the leads are a lot of fun, not only beautiful, but actually capable of playing it totally straight (for the most part). Action-wise, it is a little more wire-fu than kung-fu, so certainly not a film for the purist, but it does do that unusual thing and show the power of the shotgun against the highly trained fighter in a more realistic manner than most.
It also gets points for actually having an ending, rather than stalling to a finish, we get a sense that things have changed, and that something new is about to begin (and indeed there is a sequel, but by all accounts, this is to be avoided). It also has an utterly fantastic theme tune by Anita Mui.
To conclude, a huge amount of fun, and great to see some of Hong Kong Cinema’s heavyweights doing something much much lighter than their normal fare. Recommended.