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Film / A Hero Never Dies

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Jack and Martin tries to live up to the film's title. The keyword is "try".

A Hero Never Dies is a 1998 Heroic Bloodshed film directed by Johnnie To, starring Leon Lai and Lau Ching-Wan.

Mobster Martin (Lau Ching-Wan) and top assassin Jack (Leon Lai) are on opposing sides of two triad families, but deeply respects each other for their respective ethics in brotherhood and skills as hitmen. But when their respective mob bosses decides to merge their syndicates together and get rid of both Jack and Martin, both men are betrayed and left for dead in South East Asia. They decide to join forces and find a way back to Hong Kong for revenge.

This film contains examples of:

  • An Arm and a Leg: Martin getting his legs amputated halfway through the film.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Jack and Martin. Especially Jack, in the final shootout.
  • Bandage Mummy: The fate of Fiona, Martin’s girlfriend eventually. Her exposed face is horribly covered in burn marks and scars.
  • Battle in the Rain: Close enough, the chalet shootout takes place in the middle of heavy downpour. The sound of rain makes it difficult for Jack to track down the assassins surrounding the building trying to kill him.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Jack, before succumbing to gunshot wounds in the climax.
  • Ceiling Corpse: The chalet shootout had rival assassins hiding on the chalet’s rooftop. After tracking down the assassins, Jack then fired shots into the ceiling, resulting in one dead body after another falling through the roof.
  • Cool Shades: Martin is almost never seen without his shades. Even after he dies, Jack thoughtfully keeps his shades on his face while pushing his corpse on a wheelchair to the triad’s hideout for the climax.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Martin's corpse is placed in the center of where the final shootout is taking place. So that he can be spiritually and physically present by Jack's side despite being dead...
  • Dramatic Thunder: Used during the chalet shootout in a stormy night.
  • El Cid Ploy: Martin dies before the climax of the film. Eager to avenge him, Jack had Martin’s corpse placed on his wheelchair and pushed him to the nightclub where the triad bosses are gathered, then initiates a shootout… with Martin’s dead body right in the center of the club so that he can “witness” himself being avenged.
  • Eye Scream: One of Jack’s kills have him shoving his just-fired pistol (so the gunbarrel is still hot) into a mook’s eye, and pulling the trigger at point-blank range.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Boss Yam, the Big Bad.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Martin smokes, as does the triad higher-ups Mr. Yam and Mr. Fung.
  • Guns Akimbo: It’s a heroic bloodshed film, so that’s expected. Jack does this in the finale going One-Man Army against legions of mooks.
  • Handicapped Badass: Martin lose his legs and is confined to a wheelchair, but can still take part in assassinations using a sniper rifle.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Fiona, Martin’s girlfriend, is eventually reduced to this after Martin and Jack both gets double-crossed by their superiors.
  • Never Trust a Title: Despite what the title claims, both heroes do die at the end of the movie.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: Even though Martin is dead, Jack is determined to have his friend participate with him one last time in the final shootout. So he carts Martin’s corpse on a wheelchair and props it in a corner while whipping out guns against mooks.
  • Off with His Head!: In the opening scene, a rival mob boss tries to get out of his vehicle while being shot at by Jack and several redshirts. He only managed to stick out his head halfway before his vehicle crashes, ripping off his head.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Jack avenging Martin’s death is what sets off the climatic shootout.
  • Slow-Motion Fall: Plenty in the final shootout, but especially Jack himself after succumbing to his injuries.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Martin, who chews a massive Havana cigar in various scenes. The trailer and promotional materials often shows screenshots of him with his cigar, enforcing this trope.
  • Step into the Blinding Fight: Happens twice to Jack.
    • In the chalet shootout, realizing the assassins outside are trying to locate him, Jack shoots out all the lights and tracks down his opponents through their guns’ Laser Sight.
    • In the ending shootout, Jack and half a dozen mooks confronts each other in a darkened lounge. Cue gunshots, and moments later Jack steps out of the dark lounge as the only survivor.