Hero

2002, Sports & fitness/Drama, 1h 33m

211 Reviews 100,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

With death-defying action sequences and epic historic sweep, Hero offers everything a martial arts fan could ask for. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In this visually arresting martial arts epic set in ancient China, an unnamed fighter (Jet Li) is being honored for defeating three of the king's most dangerous enemies. When Nameless recounts his battles with the assassins -- Broken Sword (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung Man-yuk) and Moon (Zhang Ziyi) -- the king begins to question some of the details. As Nameless goes on, the king challenges the tales, interjecting his own take on these perhaps suspect version of events.

Cast & Crew

Jet Li
Nameless
Maggie Cheung
Flying Snow
Chen Daoming
The King of Qin
Liu Zhongyuan
Old scholar
Christopher Doyle
Director of Photography
Tingxiao Huo
Production Designer
Yi Zhenzhou
Production Designer
Emi Wada
Costume Designer
Tan Dun
Composer
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News & Interviews for Hero

Critic Reviews for Hero

All Critics (211) | Top Critics (55) | Fresh (199) | Rotten (12)

  • Until the final 15 minutes of its deceptively short hour-and-a-half running time, Hero is a marvel, one of the best films to be released in the United States this year. It concludes, however, on a note both emotionally unsatisfying and morally idiotic.

    January 5, 2018 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    March 18, 2014 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    August 5, 2013 | Full Review…
  • The austerity of Hero makes you realize how cluttered other action movies are.

    August 5, 2013 | Full Review…
  • The result is both thrilling and thoughtful, offering imaginative action sequences as it considers questions of loyalty and the individual's role in history.

    August 5, 2013 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    August 5, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hero

  • Aug 15, 2017
    Hero is a visually arresting martial arts classic. It's not often I say "classic" for this genre, there are certain milestones. Much like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon back in 2000, Hero became popular in western audiences due to its easy accessibility and minimal dialogue. This film is absolutely gorgeous. One of THE most beautiful, stunning, majestic cinematic pieces ever conceived. The use of colour is so extraordinary that me attempting to describe it won't do it justice. Whole scenes are built on colours. Costumes, production design, the environment...all based on one colour. An example would be the fight scene in the woods where all the leaves and trees are autumnal, the costumes are shades of red. Then later on in the scene, the shades of yellow and brown transition to red seamlessly and it is just so damn beautiful. If a scene takes place in a desert then everything is presented as yellow. How about in the King's palace? The interior design, armour and costumes are black. It's not even subtle, so you will notice it but it's entrancing and makes the experience ever so hypnotising. The film is about a Nameless warrior retelling his eradication of three assassins to the King, but not everything is as clear as what he says it is. It's an intriguing narrative, if I were to dive into it it would spoil the plot. But there is a point where we have a flashback within a flashback (flashbackception?) so that should give you a clue regarding the linearity of the plot. Important themes are explored such as the similarities between idealism and love, how one can kill or be willing to die for an ideal or love. Excellently acted by Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, two assassins who are embroiled in a complicated love affair. Donnie Yen and Jet Li are there to provide the amazing action. A martial arts classic is not without its action, and Hero is damn full of it. The choreography is rapidly insane...how can anyone comprehend the speed at which these guys fight is beyond me. Just...watch this. Please, it's so good.
    Luke A Super Reviewer
  • Nov 22, 2013
    A beautiful masterpiece, Hero is a compelling martial arts film with a powerful message. After defeating the land's three most deadly assassins prefect Nameless is brought before the Emperor to collect the reward, but first he must convince the Emperor that the tale of his victory is true. Starring Jet Li, Ziyi Zhang, and Daoming Chen, the performances are especially good. And the fight choreography is amazing, doing an incredible job of developing unique styles for each of the fight sequences. Additionally, the visual aesthetic does an impressive job at conveying the metaphoric and spiritual aspects of the storytelling. Hero is an inspired film about sacrifice and honor that's extraordinarily well-crafted.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 12, 2013
    Phenomenal scenery and sequences. The director does an amazing job of setting up a lot of these scenes, creating a beautiful film. I've never seen a film quite like this. In some ways, this reminds me of the Clint Eastwood "Man with No Name Trilogy." I know it's strange but I can't help but get that feeling to some extent. Anyway, this movie is just a fantastic work of cinematography, and absolutely worth checking out.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 23, 2013
    The metaphorical use of colors enhances the emotion of each "chapter" of the film while telling the audience exactly what the tone of each is as well.
    Jason 123 D Super Reviewer

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