Home Literature Stories Movies Games Comics Blogs News Discussion Forum Art Gallery
  Science Fiction and Fantasy News
Esslemont's Stonewielder Prologue and Cover (07-26)
Deals and Deliveries (9!!!) (09-12)
Iron Man: Femmes Fatales by Robert Greenberger (09-12)
Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead by Steve Pe (09-12)

Official sffworld Reviews
Big Time, The by Fritz Leiber (05-29 - Book)
Rogue Clone by Steven L. Kent (05-25 - Book)
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig (05-21 - Book)
The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith (05-17 - Book)


Site Index

Official sffworld Movie Review    Bookmark and Share

Hero

With the shadow of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon influencing many Eastern movie releases in the West, it was with some trepidation that I went to see Hero in the local cinema. Having been released two years previously in its homeland as Ying xiong, Zhang Yimou's debut Wushu picture met with huge acclaim, leading Quentin Tarantino to add his name to the production in an attempt to gain release in the West. This release came late last year and more than lived up to the hype. I revisited this film on its recent DVD release.

The key thread of Hero is something that much of Hollywood's big blockbusters ignore, storyline. Beginning with the appearance of Jet Li's character 'Nameless' the film displays the stunning backdrops and cinematography that will be the canvas on which the story is told. Or should that be stories.

The film begins with Nameless, a minor official, showing up at the court of the King of Qin, one of six kingdoms that made up ancient China, claiming to have defeated and killed three of the deadliest assassins in all of the six kingdoms, Broken Sword, Flying Snow and Sky. These fights are shown in a series of flashbacks and narrated by Jet Li's 'Nameless'. To prove his case Nameless displays each of the three assassins, of whom the King is highly fearful to the point of not allowing anyone within 100 paces of him, weapons. However the tale is not all that it seems.      

Hero sets out a compelling story, throwing together many of the great actors and actresses of modern Asian cinema. From the familiar face of Zhang Ziyi as Moon to the timeless beauty of Maggie Yeung as Flying Snow and the charismatic Tony Leung as Broken Sword. What this powerful ensemble cast guarantees is quality. The actors constantly adapt to the script as it tells the story first one way and then another. Jet Li is his usual tough, invincible self, fitting the persona of 'Nameless' to a tee without ever setting the screen alight outside of a few spectacular fights, the martial arts highlight of which is his duel with Donnie Yen's Sky.

Instead it is left to the pairing of Tony Leung and Maggie Yeung as on/off lovers Broken Sword and Flying Snow to immerse the viewer in a moving narrative that your never quite sure what to believe. Leung and Yeung feature in some of the most beautiful scenes in the movie, where Yimou's direction consistently sees the actors drenched in environments of assorted colours that are stunningly striking to the eye. This is Hero's most involving feature and the main reason why people will flock to buy the movie.

The backdrops and camera work are stunning, so much so that I would venture to say this film has no equal in the history of movies. Twisting through a caleidoscope of colours the film looks breathtaking, from the autumnal oranges, reds and yellows of Flying Snow's fight with Moon, to the reserved blues and greens of Broken Sword's duel with Nameless, the vividness and differentiation in palette as it changes for each segment of the story is a wonder to behold.

For anyone even slightly interested in the DVD version I would say go out and get it, there is something in the movie for everyone. Just make sure you have the subtitles on - one thing that hasn't improved in recent times is the dubbing. As good as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon? Better in my opinion. Now the shadow belongs to Hero.           

 

Reviewed by Owen Jones © 2005

     

Sponsor ads

 

Latest

The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize!
05-31 - News
Stephen King's Joyland UK Promotion
05-30 - News
UK Publisher of Stephen King’s New Novel Unusual Promotion
05-30 - News
Big Time, The by Fritz Leiber
05-29 - Book Review
Rogue Clone by Steven L. Kent
05-25 - Book Review
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
05-21 - Book Review
The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith
05-17 - Book Review

05-10 - News
The Tyrant's Law by Daniel Abraham
05-04 - Book Review
Galaxy's Edge 1 by Mike Resnick
04-28 - Book Review
Poison by Sarah Pinborough
04-21 - Book Review
Bullington, Beukes and Bacigalupi event
04-19 - News
The City by Stella Gemmell
04-17 - Book Review
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
04-15 - Book Review
Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell
04-09 - Book Review
Frank Hampson: Tomorrow Revisited by Alastair Crompton
04-07 - Book Review
The Forever Knight by John Marco
04-01 - Book Review
Book of Sith - Secrets from the Dark Side by Daniel Wallace
03-31 - Book Review
NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
03-25 - Book Review
Fade to Black by Francis Knight
03-13 - Book Review
The Clone Republic by Steven L. Kent
03-12 - Book Review
The Burn Zone by James K. Decker
03-06 - Book Review
A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
03-04 - Book Review
Blood's Pride by Evie Manieri
02-28 - Book Review
Excerpt: River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
02-27 - Article
Tales of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg
02-24 - Book Review
American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
02-20 - Book Review
Evie Manieri Guest Post
02-19 - Article
The Grim Company by Luke Scull
02-17 - Book Review
Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein
02-11 - Book Review

New Forum Posts




About - Advertising - Contact us - RSS - For Authors & Publishers - Contribute / Submit - Privacy Policy - Community Login
Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use. The contents of this webpage are copyright © 1997-2011 sffworld.com. All Rights Reserved.