The Heroic Trio
AKA: Heroic Trio
Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Michelle Yeoh, Antia Mui, Maggie Cheung, Anthony Wong
A series of bizarre kidnappings of newborn babies is terrorizing Hong Kong. A superhero known as Wonder Woman (Mui) begins to investigate on her own, as another one known as Thief Catcher (Cheung) takes on the case for the money. Eventually their paths cross and they learn of a plot by a evil sorcerer to create an invincible army using the babies and a technology that will render them invisible, which a woman known as (guess what) Invisible Woman (played by Yeoh) holds the key to. The three eventually team up and form a fighting force known as the "Heroic Trio."
The Heroic Trio marks, for me, the climax of women in action movies. To start with, all three leads are incredibly sexy. Even though there are no gratuitous scenes as in many other action films with a female lead, you can't help but be attracted to at least one of the trio. Or perhaps that's why. In US movies, even when strong females are presented in movies (such as The Long Kiss Goodnight or True Lies), they must succumb to one of a few fates: showing skin (at least in some manner), eventually breaking down and acting like a "real" woman (i.e., becoming too emotional or overly attached to a "love interest") or dying. Very few movies in the US have gotten above this. While HK action movies are still very "macho" in nature, in many instances the female is as strong or stronger than her male counterpart. The Heroic Trio captures this perfectly. The three leads are very feminine in nature (let's face it, no one is going to mistake any of them for a female bodybuilder -- they're extremely easy on the eyes). Mui, in particular, shows this in her love for her husband.
But they are not the typical "stand-behind-the-scenes" women found in most action movies. They'll beat you six ways to Sunday. Some people have dubbed this the "Madonna and the whore" syndrome -- as in men want both someone nice to bring home to mom and one that will make you cry for mommy. Whatever. All I know is The Heroic Trio features three beautiful women kicking ass all over the place, a fast, brisk pace from director Johnnie To combined with a great soundtrack -- and, oh yeah, Anthony Wong in one of his best supporting roles as "Number 9," a guy so vile he eats his own severed fingers.
You can't ask for much more than that.
Here are the lyrics for Anita Mui's theme "Don't Ask One's Life" (courtesy of Michelle Yeoh Web Theatre):
with whom with whom
we meet we go through hard times
with feeling with passion
we pass stop by stop in our life
with you with me
the changes show the romance
with nights with days
the harshness shines our dreams
every event happens only at a flash moment
every moment is nothing special then becomes a legend
don't ask yesterday
my happiness my sadness
I'm with myself, struggling for my way
don't ask today
to heaven to earth
I'm still myself, stepping my feet into this complicated world
don't ask tomorrow
is there anyone we just look like
we face the universe and laugh loud with our pride
don't ask one's life
who will be with me together
we won't walk alone anymore
Click here to download "Don't Ask for One's Life"
Click here to view the trailer for this movie (clip courtesy of Michelle Yeoh Web Theatre)
A review of the DVD for this movie can be found here
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