My friend Steve in Hong Kong suggested I check out this sequel to The Heroic Trio, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. He noted that the upcoming handover to the Chinese, which was a big part of HK genre films before 1997, is especially present in this movie.
Executioners takes place some years after Heroic Trio. There has been a nuclear explosion, everything is irradiated, and the water supply is contaminated. A black market arises for clean water … some combination of corporation and crime organization, led by an unrecognizable Anthony Wong, controls the water. Society is in chaos, nothing works … it’s a nightmare vision of the near future. And the heroic trio? Anita Mui (Wonder Woman) has become a dutiful wife and mother. Michelle Yeoh (Invisible Girl) works for positive change. Maggie Cheung (Thief Catcher) is out to make a buck. Mui is more subdued in the earlier parts of the movie; Cheung is not so much comedy relief this time; and Yeoh is still clearly the one actress of the three capable of doing her own stunt work.
Circumstances bring the three together again, of course. The real action doesn’t start up until about an hour has gone by, and so the subtext carries the movie for quite awhile. It’s not as silly as Heroic Trio, which managed to combine surprising gore with comedic sequences. But while Executioners is darker than its predecessor, I didn’t find it as interesting. It might just be the lack of freshness; it doesn’t repeat the first film, but the Trio are no longer new to us. Still, the women are all great once again, with Mui a standout … with her impossible beauty and her solid emoting, this is really her picture. 6/10.