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Executioners
Heroic Trio 2: Executioners

Hong Kong 1993
produced by
Ching Siu-Tung, Johnnie To for China Entertainment Films, Paka Hill Productions
directed by Johnnie To, Ching Siu-Tung
starring Michelle Yeoh, Anita Mui, Maggie Cheung, Anthony Wong, Damian Lau, Sze Ning, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Lau Ching Wan, Paul Chun, Kwan Shan, Eddy Ko
story by Sandy Shaw, screenplay by Susanne Chan, music by Cacine Wong, action direction by Ching Siu-Tung

Heroic Trio

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Years have passed since The Heroic Trio, since then the atom bomb has been dropped, and since most of the water has been contaminated, drinking water is rationed by faceless Mr Kim's (Anthony Wong) Clear Water organisation. The heroic trio itself has long been disbanded, and while Thiefcatcher (Maggie Cheung) is still a foul-mouthed bounty hunter, San the former Invisible Girl (Michelle Yeoh) is working for an aid organisation and Dong Dong (Anita Mui) has quit to be the Wonder Woman to look after her daughter Cindy (Sze Ning) and her husband commissioner Lau (Damian Lau).

Then though Lau is framed with trying to assassinate the president (Kwan Shan) and soon killed for it, and Dong Dong is thrown into some dungeon. Now it's up to Thiefcatcher to both take care of Cindy and find the fabled source of clear water, and San has to bring the president's double to safety while at the same time using him as bait. The point of all this is that it were actually Mr Kim and the commander in chief of the army (Paul Chun) who tried to assassinate the president and take over the country, and now everything has to be done to save the president's life and keep him in hiding, even if that's risking the life of his double.

Thiefcatcher and Cindy manage to find clear water, and not only that, they find out that there never was any water contaminated by the atom bomb, it was Mr Kim's organisation that contaminated the drinking water while artificially holding back the clear water for profits. Accordingly Thiefcatcher opens the floodgates.

In her dungeon, Dong Dong becomes Wonder Woman once more, escapes, kills the army's commander in chief to avenge herself, then meets up with San - to fight her, because she thinks San has kidnapped the president and framed her husband. It's only when Mr Kim joins the fight that she realizes who the real enemy is.

In the finale, while the president comes out of hiding to announce drinking water for all and deliver on his promise, too, Wonder Woman and San are joined by Thiefcatcher in their fight against Mr Kim, and in the end they succeed in killing him, but Wonder Woman has to give her life doing so ...

 

Most of the time, sequels, especially when they are made only shortly after the original's release, are nothing but rehash's of the first movie's formula. In that respect, you can't blame Executioners for lack of trying to be different from The Heroic Trio: The set-up is completely different, the tone is more sombre, the costumes are less colourful, and the story is way more complex.

However, considering the masterpiece The Heroic Trio was, just being different isn't enough for Executioners to live up to it: Where The Heroic Trio had over-the-top action setpieces, tongue-in-cheek humour, genre mainstays turned onto their heads and nearly-iconic imagery aplenty, Executioners is more of a routine action film in the science fiction mode. Sure, the action is still good, but not nearly as crazy as in the first film, and the whole thing is at least competently directed, but it lacks the self-irony of the earlier film and is not nearly as well-paced.

Taken on its own merits, Executioners is still ok genre fare, there's no doubt about this, but it's miles from being a masterpiece.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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directed by
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