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 assassins Broken Sword (Tony Leung), Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung), and Sky (Donnie Yen). In hopes of thwarting his death, the king has promised endless wealth and power to anyone who defeats his would-be murderers. No results come until ten years later, when a man called Nameless (Jet Li) brings the weapons of the three assassins to the Qin king's palace. Nameless claims to be an expert swordsman who had defeated Sky and destroyed the famed duo of Flying Snow and Broken Sword by using their love for one another against them. Once Nameless comes face to face with the king, however, it looks as if the situation is more complicated than he had thought. Also featured in Hero is actress Zhang Ziyi (The Road Home, Crouching Tiger, Hiden Dragon) as Broken Sword's devoted servant, Moon. … More
- PG-13 (for stylized martial arts violence and a scene of sensuality)
- Drama , Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Classics
- Directed By:
- Diphan , Yimou Zhang
- Written By:
- Feng Li , Bin Wang , Yimou Zhang , Li Feng , Wang Bin
- In Theaters:
- Aug 27, 2004 Wide
- On DVD:
- Nov 30, 2004
- Box Office:
as The Warrior
as Flying Snow
as King of Qin
as Long Sky
as Broken Sword
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Critic Reviews for Hero
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.
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.
The austerity of Hero makes you realize how cluttered other action movies are.
What makes Hero special is that it has so much more going for it than just the superb fight sequences. There are a satisfyingly complex plot, passionate romance, cool special effects and strong performances.
Sumptuous and breath-catching, Hero blends the elegance of fine visual art with the more familiar cinematic jollies of attractive people engaged in crunching punch-ups.
Zhang Yimou's Hero is a true martial arts epic -- a spectacle of movement, color and sound that will leave you awe-struck.
The result is both thrilling and thoughtful, offering imaginative action sequences as it considers questions of loyalty and the individual's role in history.
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.
Zhang weaves a complex and interesting story but the ultimate strength of Hero is its poetic beauty.
When we are not left agog by the pristine production design and costuming, we marvel at the various staged conflicts, each one bringing a new level of proficiency and polish to an already overripe genre.
Without the clarity of story, we begin to lose connection with the martial action, and it starts to seem repetitive.
This intriguing, intoxicating martial-arts epic about the unification of China during the third century B.C. is a visual masterpiece.
... one of the best films of its kind and one of the most beautiful films ever made.
In what may be the movie's most spectacular set piece ... Zhang pits the sword against the pen and fends off war with knowledge and non-violence.
Better experienced than discussed -- and better seen two or more times.
While consistently watchable, Yimou's movie is infused with a dirge-like tone...making it a somewhat wearisome and sluggish experience
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.More
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.More
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.More
Inspired by the assassination attempt on the King of Qin in 227 BC, Hero is a visual, emotional, social, and political triumph that overwhelmingly marvels with rhythmic movements, metrical narrative, and picturesque cinematography amplified by a palette of contrasting colors. Overwhelming.More
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