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Review Call of Heroes a.k.a. Wei cheng (2016) : Kung fu flick Sergio Leone style!

genre: martial arts, action, drama

It is said that Call of Heroes is a return to old school kung fu and perhaps to an extent it is. To me this was more like a Sergio Leone western where the good guys are immensely heroic and the bad guys incredibly ruthless and evil. Basically the film is a simple tale of good versus bad.

What really surprised me was how dramatic and intense Call of Heroes was. Certain scenes are truly shocking since some acts are real despicable and violent. Normally in these kinds of films violence of this level is not shown but implied. Here you get see everything which is very effective since it makes you root for the good guys all the way. 

The action is directed and choreographed by Sammo Hung and therefore is very solid to good. However you can tell that some of the main actors aren't real martial artists since their movements are clearly slower and enhanced by editing and camera tricks, The side characters obviously are trained since they pull of moves like it's nothing and easily impress. Normally I wouldn't get that in the way of my enjoyment but in this case I find it curious. Why not use actors who know martial arts and can act? Surely Hong Kong has enough of them? I mean Wu Jing was in this film and his part was nothing but a glorified cameo. Why? It doesn't make sense to me. If you have an martial artist of that calibre to your disposal then why would you not use him? Sean Lau (Lau Ching-Wa) did show of his acting skills so I do understand the decision to have him present. But I still hope that this is an exception to the rule and that at least for these kung fu flicks will use proper martial artists again. I mean in this film the difference between the main characters and the people from Sammo Hung's stunt team was gigantic. 

But don't get too hung up about my criticism above. Call of Heroes is a very entertaining film that will pull your heartstrings many times. That and you want to beat the crap out of the bad guys as well as they are too evil. Do keep your expectations in check concerning the martial arts and you will have a good time.

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