Action Movie Fanatix Review: Hero

One Man Will Challenge An Empire.

Starring: Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi, Chen Dao Ming, Donnie Yen

Director: Zhang Yimou

2002  |  99 Minutes  |  PG-13

“A dead man begs you to remember; a warrior’s ultimate act is to lay down his sword.” – Nameless

Hero has won numerous awards and was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe.  It is probably deserving of such accolades but my goodness is it a boring movie.  It is amazing that a movie that is a little over an hour and a half can feel so incredibly long.

Jet Li is the nameless hero who meets with the king of Qin during the Warring States Period of China.  He proceeds to tell the king about how he has defeated the 3 assassins Long Sky (Donnie Yen), Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung), and Broken Sword (Tony Leung) as well as Broken Sword’s apprentice Moon (Zhang Ziyi).  The king of Qin then tells how he thinks the story actually happened and then the true story is shown.  It is an interesting way to tell the story but in some ways it feels like you are watching the same story three full times.  It just feels repetitive.

Hero is without a doubt one of most beautifully shot movies I have ever seen.  The colors are fantastic.  The martial arts are majestic.  I am not usually a fan of blatant wirework but in Hero it creates a sense of mysticism and story telling that seems very appropriate.  The fight scenes almost can’t be called fight scenes even though you get to see two all time great film martial artists go at it (Jet Li & Donnie Yen).  The fights are all so unique and  beautiful it is like watching a moving piece of art (true martial ARTs).

The special effects help to create these fight scenes.  The swirling red leaves, the shower of arrows, the downpour of rain all look 100% real.  Hero could have come across very differently if the special effects weren’t pulled off so superbly.

Hero draws a very hot and cold reaction from me.  I have fallen asleep multiple times watching Hero but I keep coming back for the gorgeous fight scenes.