Hero (2004)

Hero (2004)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: With death-defying action sequences and epic historic sweep, Hero offers everything a martial arts fan could ask for.

Hero Photos

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 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.
Rating:
PG-13 (for stylized martial arts violence and a scene of sensuality)
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Jet Li
as The Warrior
Tony Leung Chiu Wai
as Broken Sword
Maggie Cheung
as Flying Snow
Chen Daoming
as King of Qin
Donnie Yen
as Long Sky
Ziyi Zhang
as Moon
Show More Cast

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
Slate
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 23, 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
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

½

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
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
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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