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Someone is stealing the babies of the city, and rivaling superheroines
Wonder Woman (Anita Mui) and Thief Catcher (Maggie Cheung) are trying to
track down whoever it is - but their enemy is not only an expert martial
artist but is also invisible.
Their enemy is of course the Invisible
Woman (Michelle Yeoh), top assassin of the eunuch Evil Master (Yen
Shi-Kwan), who needs the babies to make one into China's next emperor and
make his next batch of assassins out of the others. When she's not an
assassin though, Invisible Woman is a loving wife to her husband (James
Pak), the inventor of the robe that makes her invisible. Thing is, he
doesn't know about her other identity while she receives orders from Evil
Master to kill him, orders she just cannot fulfill - just like she
couldn't kill Thief Catcher, who was once also one of Evil Master's
trainees, years ago.
Eventually, Invisible Woman breaks down under the
guilt she feels from serving Evil Master and she switches sides and teams
up with Thief Catcher and Wonder Woman to fight him - but by that time,
Evil Master has already released Kau (Anthony Wong) onto the city, an
assassin much more ruthless and brutal than her, and apart from that he's
also almost invulnerable and kills innocents for fun. It takes all three
women to stop Kau, and in the process, Wonder Woman's husband, police
inspector Lau (Damian Lau), who is unaware of her secret superheroic
identity, is almost killed.
In the finale, the three women decide to
save the kidnapped babies and go after Evil Master at the same time. And
after a fierce battle during which they have to blow up his underground
lair, they even seem to succeed on both accounts - when Evil Master's
skeleton rises from the flames the girls have left behind to possess the
body of Invisible Woman to fight and kill the others, and it's only when
Invisible Woman makes the skeleton's brain explode by overloading it with
very intensive anad emotional thoughts that the Evil Master is finally
destroyed for good.
One of the most entertaining movies ever, Heroic
Trio is probably director Johnnie To's first in a long line of
masterpieces. And while it might not be quite as intellectually
stimulating as some of his later movies, Heroic Trio already shows
its director's predeliction for playing with genre conventions and turning
them onto their heads in the process, and this time, the genre of choice
is comicbook superheroes - and without being based on any one comicbook as
such, To gets everything right: The film is full of expertly staged action
setpieces, it is brilliantly paced, full of iconic and easily to
understand images (often resembling comicbook panels), is based on an
intentionally simplistic and yet hilariously complex story, neglects the
laws of nature should the story demand so, is drenched in rich primary
colours, and is played tongue-in-cheek. Add to this great and moody sets,
a great cast (especially Maggie Cheung turns in one of her funniest
performances), and an incredibly stylish directorial effort and you have
got one masterpiece, and a film that's lightyears ahead of all
multi-million Dollar comicbook adaptations Hollywood has churned out to
this very day!