Revisiting John Woo’s Heroes Shed No Tears

Plot: The Thai government hires a group of Chinese mercenaries to capture a powerful drug lord from the Golden Triangle. The mercenaries manage to capture the drug lord, but soon find themselves pursued by his forces, and the forces of a bitter Thai officer. The Chinese mercenaries are vastly outnumbered, and as their numbers begin to dwindle, their desperation pulls them into a corner as their enemies close in on them.

Although everyone loved Hard Boiled and The Killer, Heroes Shed No Tears is another winner from John Woo and it doesn’t get enough love from people. This movie is why I think Woo would be the perfect director for an Expendables movie; this is the template of a great way of how to do a Men on a Mission story.

It’s got violence galore, camaraderie rather than lame humour and a diabolical villain played by the late Ching-Ying Lam; sure this film has its faults but it’s still a helluva lot of fun.

The action is incredibly impressive with huge explosions, shoot-outs and a climactic punch up with an epic bad guy death.

Admittedly the pacing does drag mid-way through and the dice-throwing scene seems to go on forever. This was apparently due to the fact that the film was too short so certain scenes were added to stretch out the running time.

The main character, played by Yuet Sang Chin is a true hero who will stop at nothing to continue his mission and he tries his best to get his men home safely. He fails of course and most of them die but nobody goes down without firing a lot of bullets.

Little Keong was kind of annoying at first but when he ends up saving his father’s life it was actually pretty awesome and had me rooting for him.

The film lacks the visual finesse that Woo would later have but that’s sort of why I like it; the slow motion doves, etc got unintentionally funny after a while so it was interesting to see a more basic Woo film. This was his first big feature film and for a first go it’s pretty impressive.

Overall, although not as good as Hard Boiled or The Killer Heroes Shed No Tears has plenty of great action scenes and is a great demonstration for why John Woo could make an awesome Expendables 4.