Heroes of the East – Martial arts Movie Review

Heroes of the East – Movie Review

Movie information and review

Director : Lau Kar Leung

Producer : Run Run Shaw

Writer : Ni Kuang

Heroes of the East – Cast

* Gordon Liu Chia Hui

* Yuko Mizuno

* Cheng Hong Yip

* Yasuaki Kurata

* Simon Yuen Siu Tien

* Norman Chu Siu Keung

* Cheng Miu

* Hitochi Ohmae

* Nobuo Yana

* Harada Riki

* Yasutaka Makazaki

* Kato Maozo

* Manabu Shirai

* Tetsu Sumi

* Takeshi Yamamoto

The film is noted for the exhibitions of various martial-arts styles and weapons:

* Japanese katana vs Chinese Jian (double-edged long sword)

* Sino-Okinawan Karate vs Chinese Drunken kung fu

* Okinawan Nunchaku and tonfa vs Chinese Three sectional staff (melee weapons)

* Japanese Yari vs Chinese Qiang (spears)

* Okinawan Sai vs Chinese Butterfly sword (short swords)

* Japanese Judo vs peanut oil (a comedic duel)

* Japanese ninja skills Hensojutsu, Shinobi-iri vs peanut shells (another comedic duel)

* Japanese Shuriken, darts vs Chinese needles, sleeve arrows (throwing weapons)

* Japanese Kusarigama as compared to Chinese Rope Dart (chained/roped weapons)

* Japanese Ninjatō vs Chinese Dao (single-edged broadsword/saber)

* Japanese crab-style (an invention of the film) vs Chinese Crane kung fu

Heroes of the East Trailer

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The makers of Heroes of the East

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Ni Kuang - WriterLau Kar Leung - DirectorShaw Ren Leng aka (Run Run Shaw) - Producer
Ni Kuang - Writer
Ni Kuang – Writer

Cast of Heroes of the East

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Cheng Hong YipYuka MizunoNorman ChuSimon YuenGordon LouHeroes of the east cast
Cheng Hong Yip
Cheng Hong Yip

Japanese Fighters

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sai masternunchaku and tonfa masterspear masterjudo masterninja masterjapanese mastersword masterKarate master
sai master
sai master


Ah To (played by Gordon Liu) is a Kung Fu student. His rich father has set up an arranged marriage for him with the daughter of a Japanese business associate. Ah To initially objects and fains illness, but soon thereafter agrees to the marriage when he finds bride to be, Yumiko Kōda (“Kung Zi” in Mandarin), is attractive. After the wedding, he finds out that she is also a martial artist. Ah To finds her style of karate to be violent, unladylike, and potentially immodest and tries to persuade her to learn feminine but also effectual styles of Chinese kung-fu. She is later offended during an argument over which nation has the superior martial arts styles and eventually leaves to Japan. When he travels to Japan to entreat Kung Zi to be reconciled with her husband, Ah To’s father finds Kung Zi in training by her childhood friend and rather too attentive martial arts sensei Takeno.

As a ruse to bring her back to China, Ah To sends her a letter challenging Japanese martial arts and their inferiority to their Chinese roots. Ah To hopes that the letter will infuriate Kung Zi enough to return to prove that her Japanese styles are as good as the Chinese ones. Once back in China, Ah To hopes to reconcile with her. But the plan backfires when Takeno reads the letter instead of Kung Zi. Takeno reads the challenge as an affront to Japanese martial arts and declares its contents with other Japanese martial-arts masters who travels to China to take up Ah To’s challenge.

In the first duel, Ah To misinterprets a respectful gesture from the Japanese fighter and thus further antagonizes the Japanese contingent. Due to this cultural misunderstanding, the Japanese no longer treat the subsequent duels as exhibitions of their styles but rather as an all-out fights. Kung Zi, seeing the gravity of the situation, helps out Ah To by warning him of Takeno’s mastery of ninjutsu.

A Tribute to Lau Kar-Leung

The title to this segment is somewhat misleading. Bey Logan discusses Lau Kar-leung for the first few minutes but spends most of his time discussing HEROES OF THE EAST in general. Unlike a similar segement on Dragon Dynasty’s COME DRINK WITH MEN there are fewer unique pictures mixed in. Most of the topics covered are similar to what Bey discusses in his commentary. As has become the trend, these featurettes on DD releases act as a condensed and more focused version of the commentary. It’s nice to have an option to watch either but the overlap in material covered may seem a little redundant for those of us interested in checking out all the extras. One thing I will say though is that in few words, Bey gets right to the heart of Lau’s greatness as a filmmaker.

Interview about Lau Kar-Leung

Interview with Gordon Liu

Excellent interview with Gordon Liu sees the soft-spoken actor talk openly about his background, career, relationship to Lau Kar-leung, and experience working on HEROES OF THE EAST. Liu is a rare breed of actor, in Hong Kong or anywhere else. He’s hard working, humble, respectful, and wise. It’s truly inspiring to see the integrity of his many heroic screen personas reflected in his own life. Too often we hear about the vices, egos and in-fighting associated with some of Hong Kong’s martial arts stars. I love what he has to say about action stars today. He chastises the young generation of Hong Kong talent for not working hard enough and even cites Uma Thurman’s extensive training for KILL BILL as example that Hong Kong action stars today are generally a mere shadow of their predecessors.

interview with Gordon Liu

Shaolin kung fu vs. Ninjitsu

An Exploration of the Legendary Martial Arts Weapons Forms of China and Japan (26 minutes) – Bey Logan’s lovely “co-host” Kea Wong makes a return after appearing on the FLASH POINT DVD release to bring us more examples of real-life martial arts based on techniques seen in the movie in question. For this segment, she receives basic instruction in Japanese sword drawing from Iaido master Lok, general kung fu weapons handling from Hung Gar weapons master Chi-kong and staff fighting from Okinawan bow master Lai. This is a neat extra to provide viewers with a practical and accessible introduction to some of the fighting techniques in the movie. It’s quite appropriate for HEROES OF THE EAST given the care with which Lau Kar-leung uses to portray both the Chinese and Japanese fighting arts.

Heroes of the east Ninja vs shaolin

Movie ratings

Overall rating for Heroes of the East

4.25 out of 5

Martial arts movies are judged based on 8 different aspects of a movie

1 – Choreography

2 – Character Building

3 – Cinematography

4 – Dialogue

5 – Locations

6 – Music

7 – Plot

8 – Wardrobe

Each movie aspect gets a rating from 1 – 5, then the total score is added and divided by 8. This final number is the 5 star rating given to moves that i watch.

For example a movie may get these ratings:

Choreography – 3

Character Building – 2

Cinematography – 4

Dialogue – 2

Locations – 2

Music – 5

Plot – 2

Wardrobe – 3

Total 23

divided by 8

Total Rating 2.87 rounded up


Character Building

The Movie begins showing the life of the star Gordon Lou at his parents house about to get married. The Director spent more than enough time showing and building the character of each of his cast. members

Rating – 4


The many different Martial Art styles portrayed in this movie showed the diversification of the cast members.

Rating – 5


Classic cinematography for fight scenes were used, nothing out of the ordinary yet some angles gave a great birds eye view and often a first person view that makes the viewer seemed to be in the heat of the action.

Rating – 4


Most of the dialogue was kept for the beginning of the movie while the most of the movie was more geared to ward good action The regular conversations throughout the move help develop the characters better and allows the viewer to get involved in the day to day activities of the cast

Rating – 4


Surprisingly the entire movie was shot on the Shaw Brothers Studio set and Property. The locations were few but all well suited to the plot of the movie. They were not spectacular thus taking nothing away from the real action of the movie.

Rating – 4


We all know music sets the tone and mood of every movie, it can make you happy, exited or frightened.. The soundtrack for this film was mediocre at best and un memorable. This may have been to keep focus on the movie itself and not be caught up in sound effects.

Rating – 3


the plot of this film is easy to follow that a child can understand it. No strange twist or unexpected turns, just straight forward again keeping the focus on the characters and their tasks at hand.

Rating – 3


Wardrobe was fairly simple yet functional, they did convey the time period that was implied throughout the movie.

Rating – 3

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