This is a unique "comeback kid" biopic, positive in messages if, at times, needlessly sappy and melodramatic. Zero to Hero tells the story of So Wa Wai, a gold medal and world record-setting Paralympian, and the challenges he faced, as well as the challenges faced by his family -- emotionally and financially. At its best, the movie doesn't sugarcoat these challenges in the least, and a big takeaway is just how hard everyone worked to ensure his success. The moments of victory are rewarding payoffs for the viewer, and pull out all the stops in terms of the "rousing victory" orchestral background music and the intensity of the races. Like any decent "comeback kid" sports movie, the audience gets to feel and share in the victory, and So Wa Wai's victory laps leave the same warmth and pleasure as, say, the US Olympic Hockey Team beating the Soviets in 1980, Rocky defeating Apollo, or Rudy finally getting the chance to make a tackle for Notre Dame.
However, it's not without shortcomings. There are sidestories that don't really go anywhere and just end up making the movie longer than it needs to be. There's a younger brother who feels neglected, and there's no real resolution to that story thread. The father disappears for long periods of time, only to reappear as someone who gets injured and puts his son's Paralympic career in jeopardy by doing so. There's a "love interest" story thread that ends in a cruel way and doesn't really reveal anything new in terms of the story. The title itself is also problematic, and maybe something got lost in translation, but "Zero" seems to imply that someone born with disabilities doesn't have much to offer the world until they find a way to be a "hero" by training and winning in the Paralympic Games. In spite of this, it's still an inspiring sports movie that will inspire tears during the "tearjerker" scenes, and feelings of triumph when the challenges are overcome and the victories are hard-won.