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Hero (2004)

Action & Adventure and Art House & International movie directed by Yimou Zhang

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The green, the red, the yellow, the blue, and the white are all pleasing to the eyes.

  • Aug 10, 2006
  • by
Jet Li came back to Hong Kong with this film. `Hero' is two sides of a tale as presented by Nameless (Jet Li), a mere Prefect who defeated three deadly assassins and the King of Qin (Daoming Chen), the man the assassins wished to kill. Nameless weaves his heroic though modest story of how he killed the assassins, but the King remains unconvinced, spinning his own version of how he believed events unfolded. It's reminiscent of Akira Kurosawa's RASHOMON, and is a great way of developing a mystery thriller. Zhang Yimou handles the building of the tale expertly, as one would expect from such a master film maker.

The direction and photography is artsy without being pretentious. Every shot is worthy of being a work of art in itself. The language spoken is traditional mandarin, even though I couldn't understand a single word except for the word "Yes" but other then that I went on reading the subtitles. (I don't think Tony's and Maggie's voices were dubbed, but I could be mistaken). The main characters were very well acted out, especially that of the role of the Qin Emperor. Zhang Ziyi's character was largely insignificant though, so I think she's been put in to add some star power to the production.Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung were great in there roles. I feel that they had outclassed everyone in this film. Their scenes are so good it drains any remaining interest out of the main story.

The fighting scenes are unusual by most standards, employing an interesting combination of CGI and real action. Some of the powers that the characters possess appear too amazing to be true, but remember that some of the fights only took place in the fighters' imagination. The music, though quite similar to that in 'Crouching Tiger', is appropriate, and sticks hauntingly to the back of your mind long after the movie is over.

`Hero' is undoubtedly a beautiful and awe inspiring film. What it lacks in plot substance, it makes up for with structure and script. It elaborates on the ground work created by 'Crouching Tiger' and is an experience that I would encourage you to seek out, as long as you are willing to submit to the film and let it guide you through its world on its own terms.

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More Hero (2004) reviews
review by . November 19, 2010
If CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON is a good book brought to the screen, then HERO is stunning poetry splashed across the silver screen in vivid colors, artful battles, and wonderful drama.      During China's warring states period, the country was divided into seven kingdoms: Qin, Zhao, Han, Wei, Yan, Chu and Qi, and these kingdoms fought violently for years. Understandably, thousands of people died ... and it is this very situation that serves as the narrative backbone for …
review by . May 08, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
I bought this movie because I've become interested in the music of Tan Dun, a Chinese composer whose opera TEA is sensational on DVD. There really isn't much of Tan Dun in HERO, but the sound track is extremely artful and effective as a counterpoint to the spectacular cinematography. The visual splendor of this movie is what carries the action (or lack of action) and the actors. The "story" is complex, intellectually provoking, almost a cultural essay rather than an action flick. The acting is less …
review by . December 03, 2004
HERO is Yimou Zhang's first attempt at a martial arts film - and the novelty shows. As the featurettes explain, he dreamed of making a sword film, searched for a story, and finally wrote his own story that would allow him to express his excitement about the genre.    So, the story is minimal - Nameless Hero (Jet Li) gradually approaches the King of the province Qin as he relates how he protected the King from potential assassins. The film is done in flashbacks to show how Nameless …
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Jen-Jay AKA:JJI ()
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Married into the military for over a decade and it does has itpros andcons. The lifestyle is great and Ido enjoy it. I'm able to do things and see things that I thought I wouldn't dream of. My kids loves … more
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About this movie


Director Zhang Yimou brings the sumptuous visual style of his previous films (Raise the Red Lantern,Shanghai Triad) to the high-kicking kung fu genre. A nameless warrior (Jet Li,Romeo Must Die,Once Upon a Time in China) arrives at an emperor's palace with three weapons, each belonging to a famous assassin who had sworn to kill the emperor. As the nameless man spins out his story--and the emperor presents his own interpretation of what might really have happened--each episode is drenched in red, blue, white or another dominant color.Herocombines sweeping cinematography and superb performances from the cream of the Hong Kong cinema (Maggie Cheung,Irma Vep,Comrades: Almost a Love Story; Tony Leung Chiu-Wai,In the Mood for Love,Hard Boiled; and Zhang Ziyi,Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). The result is stunning, a dazzling action movie with an emotional richness that deepens with every step.--Bret Fetzer
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Director: Yimou Zhang
Genre: Foreign, Action, Adventure
Screen Writer: Yimou Zhang, Bin Wang, Feng Li
DVD Release Date: November 30, 2004
Runtime: 99 minutes
Studio: Miramax
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