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Review Seven Warriors a.k.a. Zhong yi qun ying (1989): A Hong Kong remake of Seven Samurai!

genre: action, drama

Honestly I had never heard of this film and while it's far from an action classic I do think it does deserve some recognition for it's ambition. Unfortunately there are a few factors that might hinder your enjoyment somewhat.

One of the main reasons why I was interested in this title was because of Sammo Hung's involvement. Even credited as co-director. However this is a blatant lie. He only has a small cameo of like two minutes in the opening scene and that is it. Clearly I was disappointed but it didn't sway me too long since I did recognize some faces who could make things compelling as well. Tony Leung (Hard Boiled), Jacky Cheung, Philip Kwok who played Mad Dog in Hard Boiled and Ben Lam (High Risk) to name but a few. I think they did a good job with what they had been given. With only a running time of 90 minutes it's impossible to go deeper into their arcs. And I think that is a shame since these are what made Seven Samurai and Magnificent Seven so special. Are these mercenaries really just hired thugs or are they true heroes who just strayed from their paths? What makes them different from the villains? You get none of this kind of exploration yet it does take the film a whole hour to set up events before the real action starts. 

There aren't real memorable moments but I did enjoy the action scenes. Deaths and other travesties do have their impact. Besides the film doesn't shy away from showing violence. Plenty of gun play and some hand to hand combat. Nicely choreographed only not as stylish as the films like in the heroic bloodshed genre for example. I think these scenes would have had more impact had they shown us more of the villains and how cruel they are instead of just stating they are evil. Although they do show some of the that in the finale. 

Overall I was expecting a whole lot worse. But in that regard I wasn't disappointed. But I can't help but wonder if Sammo Hung truly had been involved since the film and the cast did have the potential to be more than it is. 

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