My Heart is that Eternal Rose is a 1989 Hong Kong Heroic Bloodshed film starring Tony Leung Chiu-wai in one of his very first forays into action cinema, Kenny Bee (from Millionaires' Express) and Joey Wang (from A Chinese Ghost Story).
Rick Ma (Kenny Bee) is your typical regular guy living in late-80s Hong Kong with his girlfriend Lap (Joey Wang), but when Lap's father, a former mobster ends up being dragged into a trafficking assignment which goes wrong, Rick decides to take the fall for the sake of his girlfriend and escape to the Philippines.
Six years later, Rick returns to Hong Kong, now a professional hitman and killer, and realize Lap is now a mistress of local triad kingpin Boss Shan (Michael Chan) and his enforcer (Gordon Liu), with a small-time triad enforcer Cheung (Tony Leung) being the only person in the mob she trusts. Rick decides to save her, with Cheung whom had grown attached to Lap volunteering to help, but Boss Shan isn't eager to let them reunite. Soon, it will all end in a bloodbath...
My Heart is that Eternal Tropes:
- Affably Evil: Boss Shan, the Big Bad of the film, is actually polite and friendly, and smiles a lot, even when threatening Cheung and taunting Rick.
- Anyone Can Die: Cheung is the only survivor by the time the credits roll.
- Blood Is the New Black: Rick, after the final shootout, with half his face and most of his clothing covered in his own blood after being shot multiple times by mobsters.
- Blown Across the Room: Boss Shan, in the final confrontation, gets shot fatally by Rick through the gut which results in him flying backwards several meters.
- Conscience Makes You Go Back: Near the end of the movie, Cheung have decided to become the Fall Guy over the various killings committed by Rick, and give himself in to Shen and the mobsters so that Rick and Lap may escape. But Rick and Lap decides to return, and for good reason too, since they came back just in time to find Cheung brutally battered and covered in blood, reduced to an Almost Dead Guy after being resort to Cold-Blooded Torture by Shen’s thugs.
- Downer Ending: Cheung decide to sacrifice himself for Rick and Lap to escape, getting himself beaten to near-death by Boss Shan’s mook in the process. Rick decides to go back for Cheung, with Lap following because of her promise to be with him wherever he goes, and in the end Lap gets accidentally shot by Boss Shan, cumulating into a furious Rick shooting Shan and everybody else dead, but getting shot fatally in the process. The end.
- Guns Akimbo: Rick is a devil with dual pistols and can take down mooks with deadly accuracy. In the final battle scene he takes out Boss Shan first, and then mows down at least a dozen of Shan’s mooks while firing both pistols at the same time, killing everyone without reloading even once.
- Heroic Bloodshed: A very light example.
- Human Shield: During one of the many shootouts, Rick, whose pistol is out of ammo, grabs a passing mook as a shield to be blasted apart by Uzis aimed at him.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: There is a very minor subplot involving a Love Triangle when Rick returns after a 6-year hiatus to find out Lap have a new partner, a junior triad named Cheung. But Cheung quickly gives her back to Rick despite having feelings for her, and even let himself become The Scapegoat so that she can be with Rick.
- Long Last Look: The goodbye between Rick and Lap at the harbor, where Rick decides to leave her to keep her safe from mobsters which have their sights on him. Their next reunion occurs in a Time Skip 6 years later…
- Made of Iron: Subverted in the final shootout, where Rick kills Boss Shan, and then all of Shan’s minions, in under a minute, but he's still one man against many, and he ends up getting himself pumped full of lead in the process, including a shotgun blast through the torso, and collapsing after killing the last enemy.
- Mexican Standoff: The final confrontation begins with this, when Rick draws guns on Boss Shan while Shan’s thugs quickly point their guns on Rick. But when Shan drags the badly-wounded Cheung into view, which his men had brutally beaten up before Rick’s return, then bullets starts flying.
- Missing Mom: Lap’s mother is never shown onscreen or mentioned throughout the movie.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Subverted, Cheung becoming a scapegoat so that Rick and Lap can escape results in getting himself tortured and beaten to near death, but Rick comes back eventually to save him.
- Non-Action Guy: Tony Leung’s Cheung is just a Ridiculously Average Guy who happens to be friends with Rick and Lap, and doesn’t want to be part of the bloodbath in the various violent scenes. He does eventually pick up an M16 machine gun to reinforce Rick in the penultimate shootout and even managed to kill 4 mobsters, even though he’s only Killing in Self-Defense and suffers a Heroic BSoD after the battle.
- Oddball in the Series: Tony Leung in a Heroic Bloodshed movie? Nothing new. Tony Leung playing a Non-Action Guy in a Heroic Bloodshed movie? That’s a first!
- It might be justified and even a case of Early-Installment Weirdness; this movie comes out before Bullet in the Head and is Tony’s first foray into Heroic Bloodshed cinema.
- Old Flame: Rick and Lap after the Time Skip.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Between Rick and Lap. It doesn’t end well, but at least they end up Together in Death at the end of the movie.
- The Tragic Rose: The very title invokes this. In fact the film’s opening credits are imposed over a banquet of roses, which then slowly burns up onscreen while a soothing and gentle melody plays in the background.
- Took a Level in Badass: Rick, after a six-year Time Skip in the first act of the film, returns to Hong Kong as a hitman and killing machine with Improbable Aiming Skills.
- Two Guys and a Girl: The three main characters, Rick (The Hero), Cheung (The Lancer and The Heart, simultaneously) and Lap (the Love Interest).
- Violence is the Only Option: Cheung is an Actual Pacifist who doesn’t like violence, but being caught in the middle of a shootout with a heavy machine-gun in front of him, he eventually ends up guns-blazing shooting away at mooks to save Rick from an ambush. Sure, he only kills 4 (a measly amount compared to Rick whose onscreen killcount is at least twenty) but at least he tried.
- Walking Swimsuit Scene: Right at the beginning of the film after the credits, we cut to a busy seaside bar owned by Lap and her father, where Lap is busy attending to customers while in a one-piece swimsuit. Other serving girls are dressed in similar attires.