Heroes (Fearless) 大俠霍元甲 (2020) - TV Series - China
Season 1 - 45 episodes (45 minutes each)
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
Vincent Zhao returns as famed legendary martial arts legend at the turn of the century as Master Fok Yuen Gaap (aka Huo Yuan Jia) in one of the best martial arts TV series produced for a long time. Zhao produces a career defining performance that will most likely elevate him to closer status of fame as “Ip Man” series did for fellow superstar Donnie Yen. The series succeed in its quality production values, attention to details, excellent set pieces, sensational fight sequences from start to finish and rounding out with a terrific backstory and cast to make this a delightful success.
Vincent Zhao gets the most honour out of the lot in a performance that Zhao himself will be extremely proud of. After wandering in the martial arts space spanning nearly 3 decades, Zhao at 48 manages to show all his years of martial arts prowess and Master Fok, he showed a steady maturity in his stoic acting that goes well with his character and depth. If Wong Fei Hung made Jet Li, Ip Man created Donnie Yen, it’s almost certain that Zhao will be remembered as Master Fok. With almost an extended well choreographed fight scene in each episode, martial arts fans alike should rejoice in the quality of these fights. Standing out of the cast is Nikita Mao, whose strong performance as Master Fok’s wife provide the series with a dependable core and driving force behind Fok’s journey to become a legend. Fok’s only female apprentice Sha Yan (played by 王之一 Huang Zi Yi) provide an excellent range as well as flexible action display, making her one to watch for the future.
Singaporean actor Ping Hui Tay shines as the bandit leader turned kung fu master and friend, shows plenty of leading action hero potential as he is suitably ruthless, loyal and convinces in all his fight scenes. Martial arts veteran actor Zhang Chun Zhong is simply menacing and evil as the corrupted Chinese general who has an ongoing agenda against Fok’s family. Wu Chao does well as the patriotic and friend as Nong Jin Sun. Long time martial arts fans, will remember Ashton Chen in films like “Shaolin Popey” who have now grown up well in the action packed role as Chen Zhen. The always missed Bruce Leung Siu Hung makes a wonderful appearance as Chen Zhen’s master and Hong Kong veteran Eddy Ko provides good presence as Fok’s father.
Helmed by two veteran actresses turned TV-director Bai Shan and Liu Fang, make this series all the more heartfelt and dramatic meanwhile adding layers to the already worthy fight sequences. For a TV production, quality martial arts sequences that revokes the hallmarks of what made Hong Kong cinema great in the 90s are all on display in “Heroes”. From the opening fight scenes to the battles between various Chinese Kung fu masters and the eventually battle with foreign boxers and samurai swords, Vincent Zhao manages to excel in both the physically demanding role and screen presence that made this series one of the most anticipated martial arts TV series for a good decade.
I rated this 9/10