So Wa Wai may not be a familiar name outside Hong Kong:
But it has to be like that. Focus Zero To Hero, a biopic that just landed on Netflix, tells more about his inspiring life story.
Born into poverty and with cerebral palsy, he became one of the best Paralympics globally, winning around 12 medals in a career that spanned from 1996 to 2012. This feature film tells the story of how he and his mother overcame adversity and achieved international fame.
When he was little, it seemed like So Wa Wai would never leave; Born with cerebral palsy, he could not walk until the age of four; her mother fought for her, but she knew her life would be full of struggles.
However, she didn’t just learn to walk. She learned to run faster than anyone and became Hong Kong’s first Paralympic medalist. And a 12-time medalist during her three-decade career. Zero To Hero tries tells the story of the So and his mother. And it is Hong Kong’s presentation of “Best International Film” for this year’s Oscars.
She’s been played by three actors throughout her life. All of whom do a commendable job, but the very real star here is in the Hong Kong film legend Sandra Kuan Yue Ng, who plays So’s, mother. A star of more than 100 films in a career spanning decades. He is a comedian, but here he manages to show off his dramatic skills as he strives to raise his son.
In my experience, if she can’t run at this age, the chances are slim,” said a doctor from So’s mother. When she was a child and provided dramatic hints that fit her future history of fame as a runner.
Many of the best sports films follow a familiar pattern.
Please point out the difficulty first; it shows the seemingly impossible predicament the protagonist faces. It is surrounded by dramatic irony from the audience knowing who he will be. Then show a glimpse of future talent. The first moment that comes to mind when it seems like they’re exceeding initial expectations.
Lastly, build a dramatic crescendo with an important event showing the whole world who they are. Zero To Hero doesn’t hit very new foundations in its storytelling. But it manages to hit all of those buttons reasonably well and does so in serving a true story that doesn’t require much embellishment.
When we first met So Wa Wai, he was a small child who couldn’t even walk. Doctors gave her mother a grave prognosis: she might never walk again, and various other disabilities would likely prevent her from leading an independent life. His mother shuddered at the thought of it, rejecting the grace of those who might view her and her son as pity but still eagerly await their son’s challenge.
However, he does learn to walk. In the perfect biographical moment when a particular skill is first revealed, teenager So frightens his mother by staying away from three persecuting tyrants and exhibiting the walking abilities he encourages her to do. He began a long and frustrating training process but competed at the Paralympic Games and led his native Hong Kong to his first medal in the competition.
The film, which features prominent figures from Hong Kong cinema, was a box office success and will be discussed intensively after the awards ceremony after being nominated by Hong Kong for the best international film at the Oscars.
Zero To Hero doesn’t break new ground in filmmaking. But it is a brilliant and inspiring film that ranks. That is well with others in the sports biographical melodrama genre.