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Call of Heroes

Call of Heroes

Aug. 12, 2016 Hong Kong120 Min.
Your rating: 0
9 1,422 votes

Video trailer


Benny Chan


Louis Koo isCao Shaolun
Cao Shaolun
Lau Ching-Wan isYang Kenan
Yang Kenan
Eddie Peng isMa Feng
Ma Feng
Maggie Jiang isBai Ling
Bai Ling
Yuan Quan isZhou Susu
Zhou Susu
Wu Jing isZhang Yi
Zhang Yi
Philip Keung isLi Tieniu
Li Tieniu
Sammy Hung isZhang Wu
Zhang Wu


During the warlords era in China, a village located in rural area called Pucheng fell into dangerous situation when its government allocated all its military force to the front line, the cruel commandant Cao from the enemy troops arrived the village and killed the innocent, the guardians of Pucheng were desperate to fight against Cao for justice and to protect their homeland.

Call of Heroes
Call of Heroes
Call of Heroes
Call of Heroes
Original titleNgai sing
IMDb Rating6.4 1,030 votes
TMDb Rating5.9 20 votes

(6) comments

  • moviexclusiveAugust 11, 2016Reply

    Strong character drama and compelling performances make this refreshingly old-school martial-arts blockbuster of heroism amidst oppression gripping, poignant and resonant

    With China’s film industry in the throes of a CGI craze (think the most
    recent ‘League of Gods’), it is almost refreshing to see a traditional
    martial arts blockbuster like ‘Call of Heroes’ that doesn’t substitute
    the authenticity of real sets or props for computer-generated ones.
    That means the whip you see Lau Ching Wan crack on screen as the
    commander of a small group of guardians for the besieged city of
    Pucheng is every inch real, for which Lau went through a month of
    rigorous training to prepare for. It also means the city Pucheng where
    most of the action is set is also filmed against an actual set, which
    took its director Benny Chan almost five months to build. Even more
    comforting is the fact that Chan (who takes top screen writing credit
    here among four other co- writers) understands the importance of a good
    story and strong characters, and uses both to craft a compelling
    Western about justice and its enforcement.

    Oh yes, lest it doesn’t seem apparent from the grave expressions of its
    lead cast on the poster or its action-packed trailers, Chan has
    modelled his film firmly on the genre tropes of the classic Western.
    The opening scene establishes Eddie Peng’s Ma Feng as the mysterious
    wanderer with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour, awoken from his
    post-lunch stupor at a secluded diner by a stuttering bandit in the
    midst of robbing its owners as well as the other patrons. True enough,
    after the requisite character introduction to Lau’s Sheriff Yang Kenan,
    Ma Feng rides into the town of Pucheng claiming to have no purpose
    other than follow wherever his horse (which he names ‘Taiping’ or
    ‘world peace’ in Chinese) takes him.

    Though sequestered in a deep valley, Pucheng is under threat of
    invasion by a ruthless warlord Cao Ying, whose equally cold-blooded son
    General Cao Shaolun (Louis Koo) had mercilessly slaughtered the
    villagers where Miss Bai and her students had fled from and is
    preparing to repeat the deed. The army protecting their village has
    been called into battle with General Cao’s men at the frontlines,
    leaving the security of Pucheng to Sheriff Yang and his band of

    It is all but clear to Sheriff Yang that Shaolun – who rides into town
    alone at the crack of dawn and proceeds to kill three people in cold
    blood – intends to be caught, and is only playing on the minds of
    Pucheng’s ordinary citizens as well as its law enforcement to see how
    far they would go to save their own skins. His general Zhang Yi (Wu
    Jing) interrupts his trial in open court to demand as much, with the
    ultimatum that he will lead their junior commandant Shaolun’s army to
    invade the village and rescue him if he is not released by daybreak the
    very next morning.

    To Sheriff Yang, the choice is clear – there can be no justice if it is
    not enforced – so threat or no threat, Shaolun will hang for his
    crimes. Yet after an attempted prison break led by two of General Zhang
    Yi’s subordinates leaves two of Sheriff Yang’s guardians dead, the
    villagers are left even more cowed by the threat of complete
    annihilation, turning up en masse to petition Sheriff Yang to release
    the prisoner in the hope of avoiding war. Therein lies Sheriff Yang’s
    moral and professional dilemma as well as the movie’s central theme –
    justice at what costs and to what extents – which is fleshed out
    poignantly thanks to Chan’s compelling storytelling and his actor Lau’s
    commanding multi-layered performance.

    In the same vein, Ma Feng’s choice will also be ethical – stay and
    defend Pucheng alongside Sheriff Yang or simply leave and let them fend
    by their own defences? Bearing in mind the titular call, it isn’t hard
    to guess which Ma Feng eventually chooses, especially after we learn of
    his past with General Zhang Yi. That history also adds texture and
    depth to their one-on-one showdown at the end – more than just a battle
    of Eddie’s twin swords and Wu Jing’s spear, it is their ‘brotherhood’
    which is also put to the test. That the clash between the two
    martial-arts trained actors bristles with ferocity and nail-biting
    tension is testament to Sammo Hung’s action direction, which
    complements the robust character drama with four thrilling set- pieces.

    As its title suggests, ‘Call of Heroes’ is a team effort where the
    whole is much bigger and better than the sum of its individual parts.
    Neither its story or the central theme is new, but Chan has fashioned a
    gripping period drama that reinforces the virtue of staying true to
    one’s morals. As with his previous ‘The White Storm’, Chan’s ensemble
    cast also deserves credit for the strength of their acting – and even
    Koo turns out a surprisingly inspired choice sneering and smarming as
    the heartless villain at the heart of the story. Like we said at the
    start, this is a refreshingly solid old-fashioned action-packed
    blockbuster that is also likely to be one of the best Chinese movies
    you’ll see this year.

  • ctowyiAugust 18, 2016Reply

    A stand-up and be counted old-fashioned wuxia flick

    The story is too straight without any guile. Set in 1914 following the
    collapse of the Qing dynasty, the film tells the story of a group of
    villagers standing up to a cruel young warlord. It stands knee deep in
    hero-talk, melodrama and posturing. The story is not memorable but it
    hearkens me back to the Shaw classic no-nonsense wuxia films of the
    yester-years. Those are great years.

    Sean Lau, the ever dependable actor, makes all the skull-numbing
    hero-speeches feel like nuggets of wisdom. Eddie Peng actually has a
    slight breakthrough with his wandering hobo character, adding
    delightful charm and comic relief. Wu Jing, who proved in SPL 2 that he
    can carry a movie on his own, puts in an unstated performance. His and
    Peng’s back story is one of the highlights of the movie. Louis Koo,
    probably HK’s busiest actor, lays on the ham with extra cheese and
    froth. His portrayal of the warlord nearly crosses into parody. But
    please take my words with a pinch of salt because I probably don’t know
    anything. When Koo finally gets his comeuppance, the people around me
    were actually cheering.

    The one thing I hate the most in kungfu movies is the CGI-created
    landscape and all the impossible kungfu moves made possible by CGI.
    Special effects is the shite in martial arts films. Call of Heroes
    doesn’t do that and it is good old action stunt work and wire-fu. Sammo
    Hung’s action choreography here is excellent. There are two particular
    set-pieces, a fight on a bamboo-cage bridge and one on a mountain of
    clay urns, that are stand-outs.

    The studios don’t make movies like this anymore – a stand-up and be
    counted old- fashioned wuxia flick.

  • Brad CrainDecember 9, 2016Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed this film! It featured some excellent tough guy posturing moments!

    Call of Heroes has been on my radar for a long time. Lau Ching Wan is
    one of my favorite Hong Kong actors, probably only behind the legendary
    Chow Yun Fat. Then I started reading some reviews that made some
    comparisons to Rio Bravo and Kurosawa. I got even more excited! But
    could it now live up to my ever-heightened expectations?!? I am proud
    to report that I thoroughly enjoyed the film, somehow meeting my
    expectations and in some ways surpassing them.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Call of Heroes is a perfect
    film. I am saying that when it was over, I told my wife that I had
    enjoyed the film immensely and she wholeheartedly agreed. This is what
    I call a crowd pleasing entertainment! It was funny at times, quite
    unexpectedly shocking at other times; it had some really good action
    scenes, and I always like some good tough guy posturing, and it had
    that in spades. For the positives, I would start with Eddie Peng’s
    somewhat scruffy and amusing performance as the Monkey King hero. The
    performance is broad to be sure, but very likable, and I now count
    myself a fan of Eddie. I’ve already professed my biased fanboy status
    for Lau Ching Wan, but he brings the necessary gravitas and strength to
    his role as the sheriff / guardian of the city. He could probably play
    this role in his sleep, but I do think he brought some good stuff to
    the table. The primary negative to me was Louis Koo’s over the top
    performance. I like Louis but his performance seemed a little
    overboard, even in a movie like this. That being said, his initial
    arrival in town is one of the more surprising scenes in my recent
    cinematic universe. I won’t say anymore about that!

    A fun movie filled with broad performances, some unexpectedly
    surprising events, and over the top action sequences, Call of Heroes is
    one of the more entertaining movies I’ve seen this year!

  • tenshi_ippikiookamiJanuary 19, 2017Reply

    Keeping justice

    ”Call of Heroes” is an entertaining wuxia film with cool characters and
    good enough action scenes that help overcome its shortcomings (they
    being bad acting, in the overacting category, thin as they come plot,
    and a too long running time).

    The army has left Pucheng undefended to fight in the war, and the local
    governance is in the hands of the local militia and its leader, Colonel
    Yeung. Cho, the son of a military governor, who seems to just go around
    for the sake of killing people, gets to the city, and after doing some
    of his nasty stuff (so, killing innocents), is put in prison by Colonel
    Yeung, guilty of murder and condemned to die at the next day’s sunrise.
    Cho’s army will try to stop this.

    You can see almost every plot development, fight and showdown in ”Call
    of Heroes” from moment one. You know who will fight against whom, and
    how the plot will develop. However, director Chan and everyone involved
    do a great job with the rhythm and the pace and the little scenes
    between fights, to keep things fresh and including one or two little
    twists that make things feel original enough. The use of locations in
    the fights, and the cool action direction by Sammo Hung (who gives
    himself a blind-and-you-will-miss-it cameo) makes for really good
    showdowns every moment the tension rises and the action unleashes.

    It helps that we have here some of the most famous faces in Hong Kong
    action movies. Ching Wan Lau as Colonel Yeung does a great job in the
    ‘I-am-a-calm-and-stable-leader’ mold. But the movie belongs to Eddie
    Peng and he embodies the hero of the story in a too-cool-to-be-true
    manner. His acting may look simple (raising eyebrows and little
    smiles), but it fits the character perfectly, and makes the viewer
    connect with Ma Fung, elevating the character to one of those you would
    like to see at least in a couple more movies. The same cannot be said
    of Louis Koo’s Cho Siu-lun, Louis Koo having taking a page of the
    ‘unleashed Jim Carrey’ school of acting. Louis Koo munches his dialogue
    as if he was hyper after having two litters of coffee and half a pound
    of chocolate. He is probably having too much fun with the character,
    but it makes the viewer disconnect from the story, as the histrionics
    go to a level not much seen before.

    ”Call of Heroes” is a very entertaining movie, that is not trying to
    reinvent the wheel, but just entertain the viewer. And the fan of the
    genre will probably enjoy it.

  • ebossertFebruary 13, 2017Reply

    Another solid film from Benny Chan

    Note: Check me out as the ”Asian Movie Enthusiast” on YouTube, where I
    review tons of Asian movies.

    Set in 1914 following the collapse of the Ching dynasty, the film tells
    the story of a group of villagers (lead by Lau Ching Wan and Eddie
    Peng) who stand up to a cruel young warlord’s son (played by Louis Koo)
    who is protected by a Commander (played by Wu Jing) with proficient
    martial arts skills as well as a small army. Our main protagonist, the
    whip-wielding militia captain Yang (Lau Ching Wan’s character) has
    guarded his remote hometown for years, and he alone now stands between
    the village and this ruthless band of troops who are loyal to the
    warlord who has been wreaking death and destruction in the region. One
    morning, the warlord’s son saunters into the village and kills a few
    people, but is quickly captured and prepped for execution. But before
    the execution can commence, Wu Jing’s character shows up and gives the
    village a deadline to either voluntarily release the warlord’s son or
    face slaughter.

    I found the premise interesting because the warlord’s son is captured
    by the villagers very early on, forcing them to decide on whether or
    not they should execute him. This conflict is at the center of the film
    for basically the entire runtime – and it’s not an easy decision when
    you put yourself in their place. And most fortunately, this film does
    take the time to establish the dramatic aspects of everything. ”Call of
    Heroes” isn’t just a brainless, dumb action movie. It actually has some
    character depth and builds anticipation for the action scenes.

    It’s also anchored by a very good cast, all of whom nail their
    characters and are fun to watch. Lau Ching Wan has been carrying movies
    in lead roles for ages, so he’s just as reliable as he’s always been.
    If you want some recommendations with him, I would point you to ”Lost
    In Time”, ”Mad Detective”, ”The Longest Nite”, and ”A Hero Never Dies.”
    Louis Koo – who I’ve covered a bunch of times already on this YouTube
    channel – is good as the slimy, sadistic bad guy, and his over-the-top
    performance works. Eddie Peng is an actor who I always enjoy seeing,
    and here he plays a character who really does not care about the
    villagers at first but eventually comes to their aid when he sees the
    injustices they must endure. Some other Eddie Peng titles I would
    recommend are ”Unbeatable” and ”To the Fore.” And finally, Wu Jing is a
    convincing villain who is not purely evil like Louis Koo’s character.
    On the contrary, Wu Jing’s character simply has a warped set of
    principles and life philosophies. So it’s nice to have four lead
    characters who are distinguishable from one another, and add something
    different to the story.

    With regard to the action, it is of a good quality. It mostly showcases
    hand-to-hand combat that is impressive and spaced out nicely, with the
    finale representing the best set piece. I was particularly surprised
    that Eddie Peng moves very well for an actor without martial arts
    background. He has a convincing ”fighting presence” that helps to sell
    the action. A lot of the fights have a hard-hitting, impactful feel to
    them. But I will say that there is some CGI that is used at times. For
    example, Lau Ching Wan’s whip will occasionally be CGI’d. Also, the
    ending has one bigger CGI shot, which is a little distracting but I
    thought it was no big deal. Overall, I was definitely satisfied with
    the quality of action in this film.

    So ”Call of Heroes” is definite crowd-pleaser by director Benny Chan.
    And for some odd reason, I’ve seen Benny Chan’s name before, but I
    never took the time to check out his filmography. Listen to this resume
    of highlights: Big Bullet (1996), Who Am I? (1998), Heroic Duo (2003),
    New Police Story (2004), Invisible Target (2007), Connected (2008), and
    Shaolin (2011). He’s made some other stuff too, but he’s contributed
    enough entertaining action movies to be given special consideration by
    me. Which means that I will be following him and looking forward to
    whatever he does next. One thing that I really like about Benny Chan’s
    films – outside of the high octane action itself – is that he seems to
    have a knack for pacing action flicks. His movies flow very well and
    rarely feel bogged down or tedious. One reason for this is that he
    spaced out the action scenes throughout the runtime, but he’s also good
    at showing the development of conflicts and characters enough to bridge
    the fights. As a viewer, you don’t feel like you’re just sitting
    around, waiting for the next action scene. And that’s a good thing.

  • nicholls_lesFebruary 21, 2017Reply

    Not Bad

    This is an interesting Martial arts movie in that it follows a
    tradition used by many Martial Arts producers to copy old Sergio Leone
    type movies.

    The lone traveller enters a village where evil outsiders set out to
    destroy the town and kill many ordinary innocent people. A clash of
    good over evil where the town’s folk eventually pull together to defeat
    their attackers.

    It has all been done before and the irony is that Sergio Leone was
    himself copying from the early samurai movies when he produced his now
    famous spaghetti westerns. This movie very much copies that mould and
    even the background music is reminiscent of those old Sergio type

    The story is good and the characters are interesting. However the evil
    of the Louis Koo character is shockingly evil and there are some
    unexpected moments. For me the weakness was the two friends (or were
    they brothers?) I just could not believe that one could go along with
    the unnecessary evil of the warlords son, but apart from that they were
    good characters.

    The Martial arts was of a high standard, as you would expect with the
    great Sammo Hung directing the action scenes, and Ching Wan Lau was
    outstanding as the whip cracking Sheriff. Eddie Peng is very good in
    his Clint Eastwood role. All the other supporting characters were well
    acted and the Direction was excellent. There is some CGI but this is
    not overused as it is in many modern movies of this genre.

    So over all not a bad Martial Arts movie.

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