Hero (2004)




Critic Consensus: A sumptuous movie that'll excite your eyes if not your heart.

Movie Info

Hero is two-time Academy Award nominee Zhang Yimou's directorial attempt at exploring the concept of a Chinese hero. During the peak of their Warring States period, China was divided into seven kingdoms all fighting for supremacy. Most determined to dominate China was the kingdom of Qin, whose king (Chen Daoming) was wholly obsessed with becoming the first emperor of China. Though he was an assassination target for many, none of his would-be killers inspired as much fear as the legendary … More

Rating: PG-13 (for stylized martial arts violence and a scene of sensuality)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By: ,
Written By: Feng Li, Bin Wang, Yimou Zhang, Li Feng, Wang Bin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 30, 2004
Box Office: $53.6M
Miramax Films - Official Site


as The Warrior

as Broken Sword

as Flying Snow

as King of Qin

as Long Sky
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Critic Reviews for Hero

All Critics (200) | Top Critics (45)

As they move through the martial-arts sequences, the performers leave the impression that the laws of gravity are subject to amendment. The rules of love and war -- all's fair -- are, Hero makes clear, immutable.

Full Review… | March 18, 2014
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

The result is not so much a historical epic as a kind of highly determined ballet: dreamy with bloodless violence, relying less on shades of character than on magnificence of gesture.

Full Review… | August 5, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

The austerity of Hero makes you realize how cluttered other action movies are.

Full Review… | August 5, 2013
Top Critic

The result is both thrilling and thoughtful, offering imaginative action sequences as it considers questions of loyalty and the individual's role in history.

Full Review… | August 5, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

As a technical achievement, Hero finds Zhang at the height of his powers, effortlessly expanding into complex genre filmmaking without losing his command. But in light of his earlier work, the film continues a sharp decline in urgency.

Full Review… | August 5, 2013
AV Club
Top Critic

Dishes up some of the most extravagant doodling in cinema.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Hero

While I wasn't very much engaged in the story, what really got to me were the insane battle scenes, scenery and overall style of the film. Worth watching.

Wildaly M

Super Reviewer


I may not be a giant fan of wuxia, but I can appreciate an insanely detailed & stunningly beautiful film. Narratively speaking, it isn't the most engaging of films. However, it is an exercise in lavish cinematography in which Christopher Doyle does not disappoint. From the fight scene on the lake to the battle in the palace, one cannot help but be swept up in the exquisite color schemes & the stirring shot compositions.

Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

A lone warrior enters the palace of his emperor and tells the tale of how he defeated the three most feared assassins in the land. The most obviously striking element of Hero is its sheer visual beauty as it is packed to brimming with stunning costumes, colours and sets and uses the same kind of graceful wirework that we encountered in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The fight choreography is also beautifully executed making for a very poetic martial arts film. Although clearly languishing in the back seat of Zhang Yimou's concept, the plot is actually a rather interesting hybrid of Rashomon and The Usual Suspects which adds a different twist to the usual "heroic warriors making noble sacrifices" formula of this type of thing. Because Zhang is so concerned with the visuals, the flashback format does mean that we don't really get enough time to get to know the protagonists which means there's little in the way of emotional involvement but as a sheer visual spectacle, Hero is second to none.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Hero Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (22 months ago)
– Submitted by Typhon Q (2 years ago)

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