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Hong Kong, 2004 (MIFF 2004, Hidden Hero The Films of Chang Cheh)

Director: Chang Cheh

The Heroic Ones (Shisan Taibao) Hong Kong

'It's difficult to describe the battle sequences in order to do them justice. I can safely compare a memorable scene in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, where the heroes rode out into a thronging mass of orcs brandishing pikes, with a scene in The Heroic Ones where David Chiang charges down a staircase to engage a mass of spearmen. There is one big difference: the Lord of the Rings scene was mostly, if not completely generated on a computer whereas in The Heroic Ones hundreds of stuntmen were actually twirling spears and flipping through the air. Legendary fight choreographer Lau Kar Leung brought his expertise in real martial arts weapon technique to bear while the equally talented Tong Gaai orchestrated the massive melees. The combination is stunning.'

This mammoth production of Tang dynasty intrigue depicts the era of Mongol dominance in China. A barbarian king and his 13 warrior sons fall victim to in-fighting while attempting to keep bandits at bay and quell threats from rival factions.

A cast of thousands with horsemen clashing amidst lush, large-scale sets. Brothers betray brothers, sons betray father. Allegiances shift constantly and the plot keeps you guessing until the last sword is drawn in the final family showdown.

D Chang Cheh P Run Run Shaw S Chang Cheh, Ni Kuang WS Celestial Pictures Ltd L Mandarin w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/1970/121mins

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