A nameless warrior (Li) returns
to the kingdom of Qin claiming that he has defeated the King's (Chen) three greatest
enemies, Broken Sword (Chiu Wai), Flying Snow (Cheung) and Sky (Yen). He regales
the monarch with his tale of discipline, cunning and swordplay that led to these
three legendary assassins falling by his sword. As he presents the King with the
weapons of his enemy, his Majesty starts to question the nameless warrior's motivations,
thinking he might not be telling the entire story.
the same vein of 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon', Hero brings the majesty of
ancient Chinese folklore and legend to the screen but you have never seen a movie
as visually stunning as this.
Almost two years after its Chinese
release in 2002, it's Oscar nomination for Best Foreign film and a lot of pressure
from director Quentin Tarantino, Hero finally makes it to Western cinema screens
and it has well worth the wait. This is one of the most beautiful films you will
ever see. Each frame is a master class of cinematography, set design, costume,
lighting and visual effects, all bathed in a glorious colour palette that reflects
the essence of the story.
Fight chorographer Wei Tung brings
out the best in the six main actors to produce some of the best wire-based martial
arts to grace the silver screen. Jet Li has always excelled in fights scenes but
in this movie he takes it to another level. His skill with the sword is extraordinary,
using the blade as an extension of his hand and with a precision that shows total
control. The opening confrontation with Donnie Yen's sky sets the tone for the
movie but the fights just keep getting more extravagant and complex. Just wait
until you witness the revenge driven fight between Maggie Cheung's Flying Snow
and Zhang Ziyi's Moon is the autumn forest, as martial arts and stunning visuals
combine to produce a breathtaking spectacle.
do play a pivotal role in the film but it isn't the most important component.
It is the story that takes centre stage and it is one that draws you in from the
start. This is a tale of revenge, deception and truth that plays out over three
tellings as the nameless warrior and the King converse about how he came into
the possession of the three weapons. With colour making the different versions
of the movie stand out, it is also the performances that make the three tales
individual. While Jet Li's character remains the same throughout, it is the performances
of Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung and Zhang Ziyi that show the different aspects
of the story and the reasoning's behind each version of the tale. In essence it
means that the three actors playing Broken Sword, Flying Snow and Moon had to
play three different versions of the same character and it is the skill of the
performers involved that make each of them suitably different.
Yimou Zhang has brought together a cast and crew to produce on of the most beautiful
movies you will ever see. While the story me be slight, in essence it is three
variations of the same theme, it is engaging enough to grab you attention and
be more than just a way of connection together the gloriously choreographed fight
scenes. Hero is a must for all fans of the genre and lovers of film in general.
The film is a merger of art, film and martial arts that has a story to tell and
performances to watch.
in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen with a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack,
this is an excellent transfer. Director Zhang Yimou visual feast is vividly brought
to life via outstanding picture quality. The sumptuous colours and astounding
sets and locations look absolutely stunning. The sound quality is also first rate,
highlighting Tan Dun's haunting score and filling the speakers during the unbelievable
fight scenes. There is also an English language dub of the movie, which is of
a good standard for those of you who struggle with subtitles.
Defined (24.02 mins)
Director Zhang Yimou, director of photography Christopher
Doyle, composer Tan Dun, action director Tony Ching Siu-Tung and stars Jet Li,
Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chen Dao Ming and Donnie
Yen take you behind the scenes of the production of 'Hero'. Looking at the backstory,
the action, the challenge of making the film and the magical combination of action
and intense drama, the featurette takes use through the process of bring the film
to the silver screen. Covering the writing of the script from an original story,
training the actors and designing the unique action sequences to finding remote
and visually stunning locations, the featurette offers a fascinating insight into
the production of a large scale movie outside of the Hollywood system.
and final footage comparisons for the 'Golden Forrest', 'Library', 'Ring of Iron'
and 'Lake' sequences.
the Action: A Conversation with Quentin Tarantino and Jet Li (13.56 mins)
Quentin Tarantino interviews martial arts legend Jet Li about his career in movies
and his participation in 'Hero'. Covering his early career, highlighting roles
in 'The Legend I & II' and 'Fist of Legend', the filmmaker and the actor discuss
the impact of the martial arts movie and their love for the genre.
has produced a good DVD package for 'Hero'. The featurette, interview and storyboard
montage are well above average and offer a fascinating insight into the making
of a movie outside of the Hollywood system. The movie itself is presented beautifully
and the inclusion of an English language dub means that more people can enjoy
this stunning movie.
Tiger, Hidden Dragon
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