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Film / Tragic Hero

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Tragic Hero is a 1987 Hong Kong Heroic Bloodshed film starring Chow Yun-fat, Alex Man and Andy Lau, a sequel to Rich and Famous (but somehow released before), this time with greater focus on the action aspects instead of the drama.

After the events of Rich and Famous, Lee Ah-chai (Chow Yun-fat) have since decided to focus on family life, having a son with Yee (now his wife) and deciding to move his family to Malaysia for their safety. With Chai out of the picture, Tang Kar-yung (Alex Man), previously Chai's former best friend have now risen through the ranks, becoming the leader of his own triad. Seeing Chai as a threat, Yung now have plans to have Chai eliminated.

Between all these is Lam Ting-kwok (Andy Lau), Yung's adopted brother and a wannabe gangster, who eventually decides to join Chai's side, assisting Chai on his family matters in Malaysia. Both of them are fated to be embroiled in a climatic showdown against Yung's growing triad army.


Contains what is probably the most explosive-laden finale in Hong Kong cinematic history. Seriously, you can try a drinking game every time an explosion goes off in the final battle, but chances are you'll be too drunk to continue after 2 minutes.

Tropes associated with this work:

  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Chai and Kwok in the final shootout.
  • Bad Boss: Yung treats his subordinates badly, is willing to stomp over his second-in-command for power and ranks, and in the finale shoots his personal bodyguard for daring to suggest a retreat.
  • Big Fancy House: Yung’s mansion, which is where the final shootout occurs.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Luk puts on one of these when attempting to assassinate Yung. Although the vest helps him survive getting shot 20 or so times by Yung’s bodyguards (allowing him to feign being dead and retaliate shortly after) but as soon as he got back up a few bodyguards decide to just shoot Luk in the head.
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  • Car Fu: Chuan pulls some rather epic moves in a van during the police station chase to get Chai out of danger.
  • Chow Yun-fat is About to Shoot You: With an Uzi-revolver combo!
  • Dirty Cop: The police commissioner that secretly serves Yung, having been bribed by Yung.
  • Dual Wielding: During the climax, we have Chai, Kwok, and Yung all using multiple firearms at the same time throughout the shootout.
  • Friend to All Children: Chai, who besides being a loving father to his wife and son, also adopted several children.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Yung brutally beats a subordinate to death during a company meeting, in a scene that is a Shout-Out to The Untouchables (just replace the baseball bat with a bottle).
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: Right in the opening scene, we have a funeral scene where Chai and Yung are meeting at a fellow gangster’s funeral, where it is raining heavily.
  • It's Personal: Chai’s vendetta against Yung is now mano-on-mano once Yung ordered a hit team to blow up the restaurant where Chai’s wife, son, and adopted children are in.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Luk, during the assassination, infiltrates Yung’s office while disguised as a window cleaner. It didn’t work.
  • Kneel Before Zod: When Kwok, Yung’s younger brother, tried to serve Yung tea as proof of allegiance, Yung demands for Kwok to kneel while serving him.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em
    • Being cornered by the police with no way to run, Chai orders his men NOT to retaliate, instead just hand over their guns to him so that he can surrender peacefully to the police without getting anyone killed.
    • In the finale after Chai and Kwok wiped out Yung’s legion of mooks, Yung’s final bodyguard suggest they should just surrender. Yung responds by filling his chest with lead.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Before the climax but after Chuan gets shot a dozen times by Yung’s thugs, Chai and Kwok begin prepping themselves with grenade launchers, automatic firearms, shotguns, artillery, and an amazing array of military-grade weaponry.
  • Man on Fire: Happens to one of Yung’s mooks in the finale, when Kwok throws a cart full of paint on him while shooting, causing the paint to catch fire and roast him alive.
  • More Dakka: The entire climax is just Yung, Chai and Luk whipping out progressively bigger guns and firing at each other as brutally as possible.
  • Precision F-Strike: Yung delivers the one and only F-bomb in the film towards Luk’s corpse, after Luk’s attempt to assassinate Yung goes awry.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Wai Chu is killed by a bullet in the back of her head, which somehow didn’t penetrate her forehead despite the short distance and leaves her face unscathed.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The climax is triggered off by Yung ordering the hit which kills Chai’s family.
  • Rule of Pool: There’s a huge swimming pool in the courtyard of Yung’s mansion which is featured in several shots throughout the movie. At the end right before the climax, Chuan gets blasted by bullets while trying to infiltrate the courtyard and falls into the pool.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: While the first movie is set entirely in Hong Kong, a large portion of this sequel is set in Malacca, Malaysia.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance
    • The opening scene features a smooth, serene theme playing over the credits, over a flashback sequence of Yung shooting a man.
    • Later during Big Eye’s betrayal, Big Eye gets stabbed… while a gentle tune plays as he slowly bleeds smearing his blood everywhere.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: During the final confrontation, Yung decides to taunt Chai… by speaking of his dead wife and son.
    Yung: "Tell me… are your wife and son feeling hot down there after I blew them up?"
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Chai and Kwok brought grenade launchers and artillery for the finale, which they then use to level the front facade of Yung's mansion, where we get a 2-minute sequence of nonstop explosions.
  • Tragic Hero: Well... yep, our hero is pretty much the personal definition of this trope.
  • Tranquil Fury: The nightclub scene where Chai and Yung confronts each other. Yung remains calm throughout, even though he’s evidently waiting for a chance to strike.
  • There Is No Kill like Overkill: Yung’s eventual fate; being flung on a pile of burning rubble while wearing a bandoleer of explosive shells, which then catches fire and utterly reduces him into Ludicrous Gibs.