射鵰英雄傳之東成西就 (1993)
The Eagle Shooting Heroes

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 11/08/2010

Jeff Lau’s Eagle Shooting Heroes, a parody of the Jin Yong novel Legend of the Condor Heroes, was supposedly produced by Wong Kar-Wai to help finance Ashes of Time, which was quickly becoming a laborious shoot that was spiraling out of control and, perhaps more importantly, out of money.

For a project that -- like many Hong Kong comedies -- was ostensibly slapped together to make a quick buck, the results with Eagle Shooting Heroes are surprisingly fun, though no doubt it will help to have watched a few wuxia (fantasy swordplay) movies in your time, as well as have a tolerance for the goofy slapstick HK comedies skew towards, to get the most enjoyment from this film.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 10/30/2010

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 01/27/2006

Any movie with Maggie Cheung, Bridgette Lin, Joey Wong, Carina Lau and Veronica Yip in featured roles has to be at least watchable, if only for the stunning beauty and screen presence wielded by that astonishing quintet. Throw in Sammo Hung as action director, Wong Kar-Wai as producer and some of the most talented male actors working in 1993 and you might have a masterpiece. Might have in some cases but definitely not in the case of “The Eagle Shooting Heroes” which manages to be both entertaining and maddening with genuinely funny comic turns followed by stupefyingly boring endless scenes of actors trying and failing to transcend the jejune script.

It is influenced by or steals from a very wide range of other works: The boulevard farces of Georges Feydeau, the comic antics of the Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, the Looney Tunes cartoons featuring the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote along with a bit of Bollywood and probably much more that would be apparent only on repeated viewings, something which this movie does not encourage.

The characters and the situations they are in are obviously satirical takes on some of the stock figures and settings of much Hong Kong action cinema. However the characters are not developed in the least so we don’t care what happens to them. Additionally they hop about from one scene to the next, alone or in changing combinations and with no particular reason for being where they are. There is almost no plot and very little structure—it can be best enjoyed as a group of very talented actors in some barely linked vignettes, most of which aren’t very funny.

There are a few high points. One is the first appearance of Bridgette Lin accompanied by her white-clad swordswomen. Her specialty is the “sea cannot be measured” palm kung fu which is very powerful but not particularly reliable. Occasionally it simply misfires and nothing happens. More often the force she generates goes in an unexpected direction—one of the truly funny scenes is when she is about to deploy the “sea cannot be measured”. Lin is framed in a one shot as she prepares, then the camera pulls back to show her retainers flat on the ground behind her, preparing for the worst. They obviously have some experience with backfires of this particular move.

Another is a very extended fight scene between little Tony Leung and Jacky Cheung in which Jacky is essentially the Roadrunner and Tony is the Wile E. Coyote. Tony wants to kill Jacky and Jacky seems willing to let him carry it out. Jacky convinces Tony that he will allow Tony to attack him and won’t defend himself. Of course he not only defends himself but beats Tony to a pulp, always after showing how he wouldn’t be able to hit back—tying his hands behind his back or wrapping himself in thorny bushes for example.

A shorter and hilarious set of scenes occur after big Tony Leung, playing (I think) a South Asian man who wants to reach nirvana but only can do so if he finds another male to say “I love you” to him. He almost makes it—his body reaches nirvana but his head stays here. The head encounters Leslie Cheung at one end of a corridor and Carina Lau’s three escorts at the other end—it becomes a soccer ball for Leslie and a volleyball for the other three.

There are more misses than hits, however, and the dull stuff takes up a lot of screen time. At the beginning there is a bit in which the king, the queen, (Veronica Yip) her brother, the royal guards and the Guru (Maggie Cheung) have swallowed deadly centipedes—centipedes which are activated by the sound of drumming on very small drums, with each insect reacting only if the properly tuned drum is struck. I can’t imagine how this scene could have been made funny. One that could have is when Carina Lau’s kung fu doesn’t quite work and reverses time and space. Actually it just makes a bunch of film run backwards. If it had been less obvious and cut by about 80 percent it could have been a funny scene as opposed to a “is it over yet” experience. I fast-forwarded through the three songs that popped up, not having heard enough Hong Kong pop music to know if they were decent parodies of other songs or if they were to be taken seriously in themselves.

About 40 percent of this movie is worth watching, 40 percent is barely endurable and the remaining twenty is just there. Given the stellar cast, the willingness of the two Tony Leungs to play completely ridiculous characters and the insanely opulent “Arabian Knights” set that opens and closes the movie, it is worth five points.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 02/11/2003
Summary: A surprise

Funny gags, groundbreaking martial arts, excellent performance. One of my favorites.


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 11/16/2002
Summary: Poor

Quite crap really. I don't know what so many people see in this. This is like a comedy version of Ashes of Time (before it was made), only it’s not funny and its big star presence does nothing to save this (even though half of them also went on to do Ashes of Time…which is a great film). I’ve seen a lot worse period comedies, usually with Stephen Chow (luckily he’s not in this), but it’s still extremely dull and I really can’t understand why films like this seem so popular with people, because these ridiculous comedies just aren’t funny. It’s extremely long too, a film like this loses interest fast and should have been cut down to 80 minutes, instead of a painful 120 minutes.


Reviewed by: Waiguoren99
Date: 07/10/2002
Summary: Hysterical parody of just about every martial arts/fantasy swordplay film ever made

Folks, there is no way I can give any kind of plot summary for this utterly loony flick. Made by the majority of the cast (and much of the crew) of Wong Kar-Wai's ASHES OF TIME during its interminable filming, this movie is both a crazed inversion of that film and a parody of just about every martial arts/fantasy swordplay film ever made. There is multiple cross-dressing (both ways), rampant gender confusion, bathroom and vomiting jokes galore, a trio of human - sized rubber - suited monsters (gorilla, macaw, and dinosaur), gratuitous CantoPop numbers, rubber centipedes, multiple hallucinations, and much, much more. It's obvious the actors had a great time parodying the usual characters, and Sammo Hung's deliciously deliberate take-off of every cliched kung-fu and wire-fu move is both frenetically - choreographed and deliberately undercranked far more than the usual 2 or 3 frames less per second (often used to make the action look faster and more powerful), giving the action a ridiculously speeded-up look. It's fun even if you're a Hong Kong movie neophyte, but it's best if you've seen LOTS of HK and martial arts flicks. There are tons of in - jokes and allusions to characters played by the actors in other movies, particularly the aforementioned AOT -- for example, Leslie Cheung relinquishes the lead part of Ouyang Fong, "Malicious West" to one of the Tony Leungs (Chiu-wai) from Ashes, playing instead a comic Huang Yao, "Evil East", the part played by the other Tony Leung (Ka-fai) -- while that Tony Leung plays ... well, you get the idea. I did take off half a point because there are a few short sections of dialogue with no subtitles at all (???), and the only song that is subtitled is done only in Chinese, and thus some jokes are lost on us Westerners -- too bad. However, there was still so much that I alternated between shrieks of joyous disbelief and fits of raucous laughter throughout the entire movie. Don't miss it! ****1/2 out of 5.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: ksbutterbox
Date: 12/11/2001
Summary: Amusing Satire Indeed!!!

You really have to watch quite a few HK wire-fu-period-& Stephen Chow films to appreciate what they've done here.(great work Sammo!) Yes,it's silly but you can tell all the STARS(and it's just about every one of them in this movie!!) have their tongue firmly planted in their cheeks..!! That's why this is so fun to watch! I've read reviews that don't like this movie but don't bother with those people..they need to lighten up and enjoy!!

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 07/19/2001
Summary: All star cast!!

I was really suprised by this movie. Though not the best storyline in the world, this movie is a bunch of comedy scenes which flow together!! It's actually very outragous!!
A lot of the jokes work and you can see this movie is in no way taken seriously!!

Well don't except a brain strain, but rather sit back and laugh!!


Reviewed by: hellboy
Date: 08/31/2000

A bizarre convaluted mess, but on a certain level it works. You'll be hard pressed to find a movie with so many HK stars acting so goofy all at once. Supposedly made during the filming of Ashes of Time, ESH was filmed at night while AOT was shot during the day. ESH was shot on the fly but that's part of it's charm. The comic standout performance is Tony Leung CW who spends most of the movie suffering from sausage lips. If you're looking in the way of a man in a gorilla suit, pee that travels backwards, and a silly cantopop number set to the William Tell overture then ESH won't disappoint you. 7/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: hktopten
Date: 12/21/1999

Comedic prequel to Jin Yong/Louis Cha's novel of the same name.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Hilarious parody of the flying-around-and-swords-fighting genre.Well made action scenes (directed by Samo Hung) and good performances all around. Recommended for anyone with a sense of humour.

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

'It took my seven digestive pills to dissolve your hairy crab.' If you can figure that one out, you'll probably be able to make sense of this all-star kung-fu farce. In slapstick style, characters cross-dress, hallucinate, perform song-and-dance numbers, and fight each other (in fast and slow motion). They also match wits with a full-sized ape, vulture, and rubber lizard guarding man-sized goblets in a cave. Jackie Cheung (as the Beggar Prince) and Leung Ka Fai (in a split gay/straight role) serve up the laffs, while top-billed Brigitte Lin acts up a storm with a nothing more than a blink.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 7