Heroic Trio II: The Executioners
1993, NR, 97 min. Directed by Johnny To. Starring Maggie Cheung, Anita Mui, Michelle Yeoh.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Aug. 26, 1994
Hong Kong's top three female leads reunite in this uneven sequel to last summer's box-office smash. In a world ravaged by nuclear holocaust, the only untainted water available comes from the Clean Water Corporation, an unscrupulous conglomerate headed by an evil, mutated bad guy. The Heroic Trio -- Chat (Cheung), Wonder Woman (Mui), and San (Yeoh) -- have split up and gone their separate ways since the end of the last film, but fate (and the driving need for an Evian) reunites them in a quest to break the tyrant's stranglehold on the agua supply. Chat has taken up as a money-mad mercenary, driving trucks full of uncontaminated water into the city for a fee; Wonder Woman has traded in her iron mask in favor of raising a daughter; and San works as a bodyguard alongside her hunchbacked, ski-masked sidekick. When the three of them are called on by the President to break up the water cartel, they reluctantly give in and embark on their most dangerous mission yet. Ostensibly a cross between George Miller's Mad Max films and John Carpenter's Escape From New York, director Johnny To makes the common mistake of trying too hard to please everyone. We've got subplots galore which, unfortunately, crowd out the main drift of the story and make for a confusing 90 minutes. Cheung, Yeoh, and Mui are, as expected, wonderful, however it's Cheung's sassy character who steals the show in her role as guardian of Mui's daughter who is barely able to cope with the squalling kid. The final confrontation between the trio and Evil Mutant Guy (or whatever his name is -- the subtitles were a bit unclear on this) is barely up to par, relying mainly on clichéd aerial sword fighting and bad Freddy Krueger prosthetics. Basically, though, it's a Hong Kong version of one of those low-budget futuristic spaghetti westerns: the Not-So-Magnificent Three.