The late 90s were a time for To to develop his unique crime signature. His films from this era already showcased his talents, but the balance and execution are often just a little off to call them true masterpieces. A Hero Never Dies is a great example. At its best, this is prime To, but the imbalance between the first and second half of the film keep it from greatness.
We follow Jack and Martin, two members from warring Triad gangs who are tasked with protecting their bosses. The two bosses like to use the same Thai mystic for telling them their fates, so they were bound to run into each other. What follows is a heavy shootout that puts both Jack and Martin in the hospital.
The first half of the film is by far the best. Lai and Lau are great opposite each other, the action scenes are superbly shot and the tension tangible. The second half tilts more towards drama, but To had still some ways to go to make that work. The soundtrack wasn't quite there yet either. A very worthwhile film still, but not one of To's true classics.