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Review Heroes Return a.k.a. Operation Bangkok (2021): What did I just watch?

genre: action, adventure, drama

Just so you know. I didn't really have high expectations for this film. I kind of new it was going to be bad. However I did have some hope for this film to contain some good action which essentially was all I wanted from this film.

Ray Lui is the main character and is not bad. But he is no Yuen Biao.

While there is one big action sequence that delivers some adequate action it fails on everything else. The action that is present doesn't even make sense. There is a Lara Croft wannabe who keeps using a bow and arrows against a group of thugs using automatic rifles. In the Tomb Raider games the bow is reserved for the stealthy approach. And only when you get explosive arrows it's useful against well equipped enemies. Still Lara is clever enough to resort to rifles and guns since they are the most efficient in situations like that.

That being said, actress Chu Xun makes her character also use a knife in close combat which does look immensely cool so I am not going to be overly critical about it. Actually if I am being honest, she is the one reason I didn't stop watching since at least she offers that something extra you need in an action film like this. What I will complain about is the lack of plot and character development which is needed to make events more compelling. For whatever reason, you are plunged into the film without any background or knowledge about any of the characters. It's like all the scenes that give you this exposition are removed. The film wants you to root for these characters even when you barely know them. No attempt is made to give you scenes where you get to know them or even described what they are about. So when something bad happens to them you don't really feel that much. 

Even Yuen Biao disappoints. He is nothing but a glorified cameo who does get into action but in such an embarrassing way that I really see no reason for him to be in the film other than to draw an audience. Although it's not entirely clear who this film is targeted for in the first place. And why is Yuen Biao holding his gun this way? Furthermore, why not have him fight? He is a superb martial artist and I am sure he still has what it takes. I really don't get it. It's such a disappointment to not have him showcase his extraordinary skills.

Overall Heroes Return is an average action film that could have been good with better direction and heart. Not really worth your time!

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