Director Zhang Yimou brings the sumptuous visual style of his previous films (Raise the Red Lantern, Shanghai Triad) to the high-kicking kung fu genre. A nameless warrior (Jet Li, Romeo Must Die, Once Upon a Time in China) arrives at an emperor's palace with three weapons, each belonging to a famous assassin who had sworn to kill the emperor. As the nameless man spins out his story--and the emperor presents his own interpretation of what might really have happened--each episode is drenched in red, blue, white or another dominant color. Hero combines sweeping cinematography and superb performances from the cream of the Hong Kong cinema (Maggie Cheung, Irma Vep, Comrades: Almost a Love Story; Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, In the Mood for Love, Hard Boiled; and Zhang Ziyi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). The result is stunning, a dazzling action movie with an emotional richness that deepens with every step. --Bret Fetzerfrom£1.98 | RRP:
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Average Rating for Hero  - 4 out of 5
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Hero Ross Sayers
Hero is a film which proves that sometimes Hollywood actually helps bring quality to the screens. For if Quentin Tarantino hadn't fallen in love with this film (enough to bring it to US and UK screens) it may never have been seen by the large audience it deserves. Hero tells the story of Nameless (Jet Li), a fearless warrior who has defeated the three assassins who threaten the Emperor: "Broken Sword", "Flying Snow" and "Sky". However, as Nameless tells his story, the Emperor begins to doubt its accuracy and Nameless' true intentions.
In the vein of all great martial arts films, Hero continues the tradition of a simple story which becomes deeper and more complex as the film progresses. Director Yimou Zhang combines brilliant performances, smart dialogue and incredible fight sequences to bring this story to life. Jet Li, now a martial arts veteran, does a wonderful job at making Nameless an interesting and sympathetic character, even when we, the audience, can't really tell where his loyalties lie. The fighting set pieces, which can be the crucial factor in martial arts films, do not disappoint: simply put, they are breathtaking. The frantic yet graceful moves against the vibrant colours of the ancient Chinese backdrop make for a visual feast. The face off on the lake is rightfully one of the most famous fight scenes of all time, and needs to be seen to be believed. Although it can be argued that the films constant rethinking and retelling of events can weaken the audiences attachments to the character and story, I personally believe this only further enhances the overall effect of keeping the audience guessing right until the end. The themes of loyalty and trust are deftly explored and give the film a real emotion pull, which is backed up by a heartfelt script. If you missed it the first time round, give it a try. If you've seen it, then try it again, you already know how good it is.
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