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Hero - Beyond The Boundary of Time DVD

Mandarin and/or Cantonese Multilingual DVDs

Hong Kong Movie

Comedy

97 Minutes

Multi-Lingual

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 Hero - Beyond The Boundary of Time (1995)

韋小寶奉旨溝女

Director: Ko Shou Liang

Starring: Tony Leung, Dicky Cheung, Veronica Yip

Tony Leung returns to the role that literally made him famous in Hong Kong - that of the womanising scoundrel Wai Siu-bo. Leung gave a very impressionistic performance as the thieving scum-turned-powerful noble in the 1983 TV series "Duke of Mount Deer".

Film fans would be more aware of the Stephen Chow effort entitled "The Royal Tramp", where we could see Chow lampooning the novel for all its worth.

Hero - Beyond the boundary of time is similar in style to The Royal Tramp, only it is set in modern times. Because Wai Siu-bo is transported through time from 1700s Manchu China to the 1990s of Hong Kong. The reason? He's on a mission to find a predestined woman, bring her back so that she would become the wife of Emperor Kangxi, thus effectively saving the dynasty and empire from destruction.

Seems pretty far-fetched, and the shabby plot doesn't help either. The whole time travel idea is just a poor excuse to get Siu-bo into the future, so that the audience can laugh at his attempts at coping with the hectic demands of modern life. We see him discover the joys of television, cars, brassieres, condoms, and scantily-clad women.

His initial landing in Hong Kong (more precisely, in the northern new territories, close to the China border) causes the local policemen to mistook him as an illegal immigrant from mainland China. His weird colloquial speech and Manchu dress-robes doesn't help his cause either. A run-in with a local beauty Ah Har (Ng Zhit-man), because he peeped at her taking a shower, later leads to his infatuation of her, and his constant pursuing of her is basically the whole film's premise.

He has a friend in Ah Chiu (Dicky Cheung), who is a policeman, but has huge debts. Chiu hopes that Siu-bo's wealth could solve his financial problems, and Siu-bo hopes that with Chiu's connections, he could help him to locate the woman predestined to become the empress. I'm not going to tell you who it is, but with the shameful plotting, you can easily guess who it is anyway. Well, to spice things up a bit, two of Siu-bo's wives suddenly arrive from the past to help him complete his mission, and it is suffice to say that it is starting to get a little crowded.

The idea of transporting Siu-bo to the modern metropolis is sound, but sadly, the execution is flawed. The whole plot is nothing more than a hotpot of sexual innuendos and phallic connotations. Some of the ideas seemed tacked on for lack of insight, especially that of the ending. But worse of all, was Leung's performance, which was way, way over-the-top, as he comes across as a leering pervert than the lovable rogue he used to be.

There are some truly funny moments, but these are few and far between, and the oft-times awful slapstick toilet humour fails to trigger anything more than a snigger or two. Overall, I'd give the film credit for being a bit original, but it lacks cohesion, structure and humour; the acting's terrible as well. With a bit more thoughtfulness (and a much better scriptwriter), this could have turned out a whole lot better.

DVD: List Price: US $20.95

Sale Price: US$8.95

Language: Cantonese / Mandarin

Subtitle: English / Traditional Chinese / Simplified Chinese

Regions Free

Letter Box, Dolby Digital

Rating: IIA - "Some Content May Be Inappropriate For Children" (roughly equal to an MPPA rating of "PG-13") Films rated Category IIA may contain mild violence such as martial arts, mild nudity that is not sexually oriented, mild explicit language and some mild adult situations.


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