Heroes Shed No Tears


Reviewed by: sukting

March 07, 2009

Rating: three-point-five

Foreword

It is a direct translation from Gu Long’s novel ‘The hero without tears’ - 英雄无泪. After watching ‘Hero without tears’ 青锋剑影, my neighbour kept bugging me to write a review of the movie version. Are you eager to see Yee Dong Shang, Fu Shing and Chiu Ngar Chi acting in this version? I am sorry for this short review as my memory of it is vague. Fu Shing was Jenny Tseng’s husband and this was the second movie that both worked together – he acted in it while she sang the songs.

Story

Swordmaker Siu sheds tears on the sword that he has just made as he feels a bad omen coming. To make sure that the sword doesn’t get into the pugilistic world, he passes it to a disciple who is a simple person. He then passes it to Ko Jin Fei (Fu Shing) . He brings it to Cheung On escort agency. His master has described the top escort, See Ma Chiu Kuan, as a righteous man.

Chiu Kwan accepts a traitor from Hung Shi clan, Yeung Kin (Lam Ching Ying), as his new disciple. See Kuan’s disciple, Cheuk Dong Loi (Yee Dong Sang), makes preparations for the acceptance ceremony. Dong Loi is also Jin Fei’s scheming senior who was expelled from their sect. Yeung escapes from the ceremony by two men (Yuen Bun and Yuen Wah). But he is still killed by a man (Yue Wah) dressed in grey and carrying a mysterious wooden box.

Yeung’s death sparkles a war between the two clans as Dong Loi declares to charge to Chu Mang's (Gu Fung) base. (It is interesting to see how Wai Tin Chi first started out as Dong Loi’s henchmen then.) Jin Fei passes by to witness this and assists Mang. The mysterious man appears again to save Mang. Jin Fei finds Mang a righteous man and becomes sworn brothers with him.

Mrs Sima (Lau Wai Ling) notices that Dong Loi tends to usurp Chiu Kwan’s authority and reminds him. But her advice falls on deaf ears. The mysterious man is Siu Lei Huei. He has three things to do in life – to find the sword’s owner, repay Mang’s kindness and wait for the red smoke to appear near the lake. Jin Fei is curious over his box and opens it, then is puzzled over the numerous weapons in it.

Jin Fei befriends Siu Diet (Chiu Ngar Chi) and falls for her. (You will be tongue-tied to see her so seductive to reach his hand first. No wonder he falls into her love trap immediately.) He is concerned when she complains of chest pains. However, she leaves mysteriously the next day and he misses her. Dong Loi is distracted when the woman he loves, Diet Mou, is missing. Jin Fei is unhappy that he becomes like this because of a dancer. Both quarrel when Jin Fei finds it tough to handle all the duties on his own.

Mang chases him away in a rage. He is in dire straits when his whole clan perishes in a single night from a sudden attack by Dong Loi. The attack is also helped by another spy, Choi (Koo Gun Chung). Luckily, Jin Fei rescues him out as he returns, worried over his well-being.

Both men get an invitation by Dong Loi – it is said that they will get to see the person they miss most. Dong Loi tells Diet Mou to attend a function. She is disgusted to listen to his bidding all along but she has to do it as her father is under his care. (Sorry to all fans but there is no romantic element in this scene although they look very compatible.)

Diet Mou is there dancing and the two men are speechless to see her. (It is a marvelous sight when the sub theme song ‘Diet Mou’ is played at the same time.) She also freezes upon seeing them. Diet Mou and Siu Diet are the same person.

Dong Loi has made use of their love for her to make them fall out. Dong Loi also lures Chiu Kuan to Henan, intending to kill him. Diet Mou is too ashamed to face both men and chops off a leg to give to Mang. She has only danced for him and will never dance again.

Jin Fei watches in anguish as Mang carries Diet Mou, walking away. (It is another highlight of this movie.) Dong Loi doesn’t want to be labeled as a rebel and urges Jin Fei to take over the top escort position. Jin Fei agrees as he is sore that the woman he loves is with another man. Dong Loi then instigates Lei Huet to kill Jin Fei but he exposes Dong Loi’s evil nature.

Chiu Kuan escapes to return to find his wife dead. She has left a note, saying that she expected Dong Loi to be behind this. Dong Loi defeats him and injures him severely. However, he prevents Choi from killing him as he deems him a useless man now. Chiu Kuan staggers into the inn and gets drunk. The innkeeper is grateful to Chiu Kuan for saving him in the past and gives him a place to stay.

Chiu Kuan then seeks Mang out. Both men recognize each other at one glance. They are eager to spar for the first time. They stop in the midst as Diet Mou is dying. She pleads with Mang to forgive her and he shouts her name in grief. Jin Fei can’t contain his sorrow when seeing her body being thrown down the cliff to be with the flowers below.

Dong Loi lures Lei Huet to meet Jin Fei’s master. Lei Huet is stunned to find him dead and spars with Dong Loi. But he is weakened by a poison when Dong Loi adds the power to his box. He is then locked up. To prevent Mang and Chiu Kuan to join forces, Dong Loi brings Jin Fei to attack them. He never expected Lei Huet to get released and the four men to join forces to eliminate him.

Lei Huet gets a chance for Jin Fei to use the sword to kill Dong Loi. Before his death, he finds the tear disappearing from the sword. He then realizes that he is the son of the sword master. Peace is finally restored but the four men have no intention to remain in the pugilistic world after this power struggle.

Songs

The title is ‘The hero’s tears’ by Jenny Tseng. It is a very fascinating song. Her powerful voice brings out the confusion of the men in love. The sub theme song is ‘Diet Mou’ – that depicts the maiden’s name. But unlike other dances which bring happy endings, this dance is a tragic one.

The songs are all from Mr Koo Kar Fai and lyrics written by Mr Suen Yee so the standard is high. The sub theme song lyrics are actually taken by Gu Long from the novel as Diet Mou sings as she dances. It is definitely among the best songs that I have heard and remember fondly. Her interpretation of the songs was even better than the theme song for ‘The deadly breaking sword’.

Conclusion

What can I say? The story kept me glued to the set from the start. I am sick of the 90s horrendous movie remakes or present low quality TV works. They show fighting scenes in the dark as many can’t handle the fighting scenes. I appreciate a lot of Shaw Brothers’ movies and feel that they can really stand the test of time. Most importantly, they are faithful to the novels.

We get to see how the big shots started out then. Despite their limited cameo appearances, their fighting scenes were splendid with their natural strokes! Just see how they handled the spears and swords with ease. I was totally engrossed and long for more as I watch on.

And how the roles were divided out – the actors acted their parts with an unique air. Fu Shing showed how he could transform from the usual cheeky roles to a serious and mature man in this movie. Jin Fei longed to be with Diet Mou during her remaining days.

But knowing that Mang loves her as deeply as him, he gives them the chances to be together. What a big sacrifice! Some may feel that he had a Western look but he had the flair to blend into the era to look like a swordsman despite having a long fringe as he was very agile then.

One news I heard was Fu Shing had broken his leg while filming this movie in September 1979. How coincidental to hurt himself seriously in two Septembers after his filming of 'Heroes shed no tears'. He was scared of filming in September from then on.

As for Yee Dong Shang, it is refreshing to see him acting as a heartless villain – and moreover this villain is so handsome and highly skilled. The chilly smile that he had on his face was so deceiving. It is little wonder that all were deceived by him to work with and for him. Ngar Chi is pretty but other than that, her character wasn’t explored further so I hardly pitied Diet Mou before she died.

Bak Piew and Gu Fung paled slightly in comparison as their roles were one dimensional. The former only shone in fighting scenes. He wasn’t as authoritative as I expected him to be when he sat on the chair in the hall. Gu Fung had a better outlook but his acting was overly stage-like. I sometimes couldn’t stomach it.

Storywise, it was well-developed – it was successful as an all-man’s movie. Mou hap fans will definitely love it as much as I do as it is a true masterpiece. I doubt we will get to watch such a good movie these days. This is a movie that I strongly recommend all fans to watch it.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On songs : ***** (Scale of 5) (Definitely not to be missed if you get to see it in the shop. You must buy it!)


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