Hero

( 42 )

Overview

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...
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Overview

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. ~ Tracie Cooper
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Inside the Action: a conversation with Quentin Tarantino & Jet Li; Storyboards
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Highly regarded Chinese director Zhang Yimou, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's Ang Lee, always wanted to make a martial-arts movie that had a stronger story and more emotional resonance than the typical chop-socky offerings. He succeeds beyond his wildest expectations with Hero, which stars Jet Li as a warrior known only as “Nameless.” Nameless is called before the king to explain how he killed the three fearsome assassins who had threatened the throne; and what unfolds is a Rashomon-like recounting of his exploits, which the king comes to regard with suspicion. The three killers are played by Asian stars Donnie Yen as Sky, Tony Leung as Broken Sword, and Maggie Cheung as Flying Snow, with Crouching Tiger tigress Zhang Ziyi thrown into the mix as Moon, Broken Sword’s devoted servant. With its fable-like story line, engaging romantic subplots, intricate action sequences, and painterly visuals, this stirring film transcends the genre. We should note one of this DVD's numerous supplemental features: "Inside the Action" begins as a conversation between director Quentin Tarantino -- who gets a "Quentin Tarantino Presents…" credit above the title -- and top-billed Jet Li, but it spreads beyond them to encompass remarks by others involved with the production. The focus here is on the martial-arts sequences, the preparations for which are described in painstaking detail. Somewhat surprisingly, Li reveals to Tarantino his admiration for Uma Thurman's fight sequences in the Kill Bill films; he explains that the genre's best performers convey emotion through their physicality, something he believes Thurman accomplished quite skillfully.
All Movie Guide - Skyler Miller
Highlighted by a pageant of breathtaking images, Zhang Yimou's exhilarating Hero is at once an epic historical tale, a rousing action movie, and an intimate romance. Comparisons to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will be inevitable for Western audiences, and while the two films share a similarly romantic take on the "wuxia" genre of gravity-defying, sword-wielding heroes, the faster-paced Hero has a harder edge and clearer focus. The brisk running time compresses what could have been a sprawling story into a lean narrative that rarely pauses for breath as it accelerates toward a gripping finale. Real emotion and passion is evoked through the powerful relationship between Broken Sword and Flying Snow (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung), and even a minor character like Moon (Zhang Ziyi) has a memorable presence. The flashback structure, which finds Jet Li and Chen Daoming engaging in a storytelling tête-à-tête, is handled with such confidence that there's never any confusion as the story slips in and out of the past and present. Much of the credit for this goes to the film's amazing use of color, which not only distinguishes the various stories from one another but also serves as the underlying force behind the vibrant imagery. With its beautiful cinematography, dazzling combat sequences, and moving love story, Hero is the rare epic that manages to be intensely personal.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/3/2005
  • UPC: 786936294699
  • Original Release: 2002
  • Rating:

  • Source: Miramax
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Cinemascope (2.35:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Language: English, Français
  • Time: 1:39:00
  • Format: UMD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jet Li Nameless
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai Broken Sword
Maggie Cheung Flying Snow
Chen Daoming The King of Qin
Ziyi Zhang Moon
Donnie Yen Sky
Tan Dun Conductor
Technical Credits
Zhang Yimou Director, Original Story, Producer, Screenwriter
Wang Bin Executive Producer, Original Story, Screenwriter
Wang Bing Original Story, Screenwriter
Christopher Doyle Cinematographer
Tan Dun Score Composer
Li Feng Executive Producer, Original Story, Screenwriter
Tao Jing Sound/Sound Designer
Bill Kong Producer
Angie Lam Editor
Zhai Ru Editor
Dou Shoufang Executive Producer
Jing Tao Sound/Sound Designer
Huo Tingxiao Production Designer
Ching Siu Tung Action Director
Emi Wada Costumes/Costume Designer
Zhang Weiping Executive Producer
Zhang Zhenyan Associate Producer
Yi Zhenzhou Production Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Nameless
2. Sky
3. Calligrapher
4. Sword & Arrows
5. Jealous Fools
6. Falling Leaves
7. Advance Ten Paces
8. Flying Snow
9. Underestimated
10. Spare The King
11. "Our Land"
12. "Draw Your Sword"
13. Execution
14. Credits
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Scene Selections
   Bonus Features
      Inside The Action: A Conversation With Quentin Tarantino & Jet Li
      Storyboards
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The green, the red, the yellow, the blue, and the white are all pleasing to the eyes.

    Jet Li came back to Hong Kong with this film. ‘Hero’ is two sides of a tale as presented by Nameless (Jet Li), a mere Prefect who defeated three deadly assassins and the King of Qin (Daoming Chen), the man the assassins wished to kill. Nameless weaves his heroic though modest story of how he killed the assassins, but the King remains unconvinced, spinning his own version of how he believed events unfolded. It's reminiscent of Akira Kurosawa's RASHOMON, and is a great way of developing a mystery thriller. Zhang Yimou handles the building of the tale expertly, as one would expect from such a master film maker. The direction and photography is artsy without being pretentious. Every shot is worthy of being a work of art in itself. The language spoken is traditional mandarin, even though I couldn't understand a single word except for the word “Yes” but other then that I went on reading the subtitles. (I don't think Tony's and Maggie's voices were dubbed, but I could be mistaken). The main characters were very well acted out, especially that of the role of the Qin Emperor. Zhang Ziyi's character was largely insignificant though, so I think she's been put in to add some star power to the production. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung were great in there roles. I feel that they had outclassed everyone in this film. Their scenes are so good it drains any remaining interest out of the main story. The fighting scenes are unusual by most standards, employing an interesting combination of CGI and real action. Some of the powers that the characters possess appear too amazing to be true, but remember that some of the fights only took place in the fighters' imagination. The music, though quite similar to that in 'Crouching Tiger', is appropriate, and sticks hauntingly to the back of your mind long after the movie is over. ‘Hero’ is undoubtedly a beautiful and awe inspiring film. What it lacks in plot substance, it makes up for with structure and script. It elaborates on the ground work created by 'Crouching Tiger' and is an experience that I would encourage you to seek out, as long as you are willing to submit to the film and let it guide you through its world on its own terms.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Stunning

    Anyone who's had trouble following this movie must be a kid, or just wasn't paying any attention whatsoever. It's quite simple, really: Jet Li's character, Nameless, enters the Emperor's palace and tells the warlord he has rid the Qin kingdom of its three greatest enemies. One of them, Sky, was the most feared fighter in the land. Another, Broken Sword, was a wanderer who met the love of his life and learned how to become a great warrior. His love, Flying Snow, seeks the Emperor's head because her father was killed in battle against the Qin army. After Nameless tells his story, the Emperor has a few disagreements because he can't reconcile what he's just heard with what he personally knows about Broken Sword and Flying Snow. So he gives his own account of what probably happened, thus forcing Nameless to deliver the truth in the third and final portion of the film. The narrative follows that of the classic Kurosawa film Rashomon; different people deliver significantly different stories about the same event. As for the rest of this movie, the use of color and scenery is absolutely phenomenal. The soundtrack is also incredibly good, and this huge tale, told in well under 2 hours, leaves you with much to think about. Far more than a martial arts film, this is an ultra-stylish (and thus relatively bloodless) art/history film that includes martial arts. Also see Zhang Yimou's Curse of the Golden Flower.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Masterpiece of Art

    This film is a true work of art. Besides the well-lauded visuals, which deserve all the credit they receive and more, the story, choreography, and acting is incredibly sublime. I first saw this film at my small, downtown independent-film movie theatre, and even on it's smaller, slightly grainy screen, I was absolutely breath-taken at the pure majesty and beauty of the film. If you appreciate Asian history, amazing films, or stories that touch the heart, I highly recommend this masterpiece.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Jet Li

    My kind of film,Love It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Beyond visually stimulating, extremely satisfying.

    Although I gave the movie a three star rating for funny, that is because it is not slap-stick hilarious. However, if you have a taste for the beautifully ironic, then this movie is very entertaining. It also has its moments of subtle physcial comedy, which altogether blends with the scenes well.<BR/>Aside from that, the visual stimulus of this movie is reason enough to see it. Landscapes and color motifs paint a very vivid picture as the characters lead you through a winding "possibilities" tale. Although it is certainly not lacking in tragedy, the movie doesn't beg the possible avoidance that the tearful ending of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon does. Because everything seems if not justified, then at least necesary at the end, I would say it leaves the heart moved, but intact.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    "Our Land"

    HERO is a cinematic Martia Arts masterpiece comparable to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "House of Flying Daggers." With great actors such as Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Zhang Ziyi, Tony Leung, and Maggie Cheung how can this movie not miss! The plot takes place 2000 years ago, with 7 warring states in the Chinese region. The ruler of Qin (Chen Dao Ming) wants to conquer his fellow states, and unite China. Assassins are after him, and thus he shields himself in the palace to keep all but his most loyal followers away from him. A prefect from Qin is summoned to the King, as he has killed 3 assassins who have been attempting to take the King's life for some years! Nameless (Jet Li) comes to the King, and then relates his story on how he killed each of the 3 assassins. The first battle is between Nameless and Sky (played by Donnie Yen). For those waiting for the sequel battle to "Once Upon a Time in China II", you will not be disappointed. The scene is intense: as they battle in a rainy courtyard, with a music player providing background music. So intense in fact, that eventually the battle is fought within their minds! Next, Nameless tells the King he travels to a small calligraphy school to encounter the assassins Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung) and Broken Sword (Tony Leung) who are currently lovers at odds. There is a beautiful scene where the King's army lays assault to the school with arrows, as the students and teacher perform calligraphy. Eventually, Nameless challenges them to a duel, but they cannot decide who goes. Flying Snow stabs Sword, but then has to first fight Moon, (Zhang Ziyi), who is Sword's apprentice. When Snow kills Moon, she goes to battle Nameless, who defeats and kills her! Following all of this? When Nameless finishes his story, the King does not believe him. And thus enfolds, the rest of the story from the King's viewpoint, and then what really happened! I was impressed by the depth of the characters and story, that eventually leads to the sad climax, and the true meaning of "Our Land" ! The movie is visually stunning! The background, the remote locations, the costumes, and the use of colors are awesome. The director uses coloring to influence the characters and the scenes! From the brightness of the yellow leaves, to the blue lake, to the green sheets in the palace, all the coloring is an explosion on your eyesight. There are some extras on the DVD: * Hero Defined: is basically an overview on what Director Zhang Yimou thought of the movie as he began production of the script, and how he wanted to make a "Swordsman" movie and what it takes to make a "Hero". I am still amazed that this was his first action film! Impressive! Also, for the lake scene, it took them 20 days to film the scene, as they could only shoot from 10am to 12Noon, because of the calmness of the lake at that particular period. * Storyboards * Conversation with Quentin Tarantino and Jet Li: An informational talk about martial arts films, and Jet Li's various performances in them. * Soundtrack Spot If you love action and martial arts films, you will love "Hero". Jet Li is awesome, as are the rest of the cast. The movie is visually stunning, and the martial arts and swordplay are intense and exciting! A definite must add for any DVD collection !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Do not miss this masterpiece!

    The plot has great twist and turns. It is esentially a great message about peace, not war.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Real story telling. Hurrah fo Jet LI!

    Hero is a wonderfully told story about choosing between ones dream(Li's revenge) and what is right. The Hero here is every person in the film that sacrificies for the unification of the country. Each time the story is told, we get closer and closer to the truth. Beautiful fight scenes and costumes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Martial Arts with brains

    Hero is an epic film that has some spectacular fight scenes and a compelling story to match. The film is drenched in color and music that pours over you as you experience China in the fuedal times. The story is retold from different views and makes for interesting history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A feast for the eyes

    I loved this movie. The magnificently color-drenched backgrounds as well as the music and the sound of water are all tied into the action scenes in a masterful way. The dream-like techniques used allow for the freedom to create a magical ambiance that works. The acting is superb and every element of the movie comes together to evoke emotion and give meaning to any expression, any movement, any action. Although not a martial art affecionado, I was totally taken-in by this movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Hero is a movie downer

    This movie is mmmm ok in the begining but then it falls. I am a fan of marshall arts and action and adventure but this is to much. here I can give the hole movie in 2 words. THIS MOVIE IS THE WORST REPOLSIVE DUMBEST CHEAPEST MOVIE EVER! I am telling you if you like action and alot of it you will not like this movie not because not anough action it is because there is to much action. So redicules!!! Hate it and you will to. I give it 1 star for trying to make a movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The dumbest movie I have ever seen!

    It's ridiculous, boring, and all together bad. I wasted two hours of my life! I warn all DO NOT WATCH THIS! Consider yourself warned.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Hero

    This is quite a good martial arts movie with Jet Li. He does a terrific job with the fighting choosing any weapon or his own weapon which is a remarkable sword that can cut through anything it sets its sense on. Entertaining fight sequences.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Allegory of China's earliest history and unification 1122 BC - 221 BC

    Using exquisitely rich allegory, director Yimou Zhang transports viewers through a millenium of China's earliest history, from the Zhou (Chou) Dynasty (1122 BC to 255 BC) to the unification of "all under heaven" by the king of the Qin (Ch'in) Dynasty (221 BC), and the creation of the first great Chinese empire. The characters, the colors, the costumes, the choreography, the cinematography - absolutely everything in HERO - is superb. Here, pictures tell the story far better than words could ever do. And what a story! I consulted several history sources immediately after seeing HERO. This is much, much more than a beautifully made martial arts film (though it is that too). The political message of HERO, i.e., willing sacrifice by the individual for the good of all is both powerful and modern. I think HERO offers useful insights into today's China.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This is a must-see for Jet Li fans

    This movie is awesome!!! The only complaint I have is that it should have been dubbed in English rather than relying on subtitles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A confused epic!

    Extremely colorful and well photographed film. The outstanding background pictures of the Chinese countryside do not hide the fact that the plot and the acting are both confusing and poorly delivered. If you can stay awake until the end of the film, you wonder why you bothered to stay awake. If the price drops to $5 you may wish to buy it just to see it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Dashed expectations

    As admirers of Zhang Yimou's previous works, my friends and I have to say we find the facination with 'Hero' somewhat perplexed. It may be too harsh to say the film is a Crouching Tiger-wannabe, but we were expecting, of all directors, Zhang not to fall in Ang Lee and Wang Karwei's shadow. We find the music, the acting, and some of the fight scenes familiar and pretentious. (There is no tradition whatsoever for another fight in a bamboo forest.) Maybe we like the director and this group of actors too much. The only consolation is that we may be able to find a deeper meaning in the film if we see it as a commentary on modern Chinese history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fabulous

    Hero tells a wonderful, mythic story with some of the most beautiful conematography I have ever seen and a great musical score. My friend showed me the film a few months before it came out in America and I thought it was fabulous. I thought the story was really well done and loved the use of different colors in each sequence until we finally see the truth in the final sequence and everything is in white. Hero had me in tears as well in asin awe of its visual beauty and I would highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    five stars is not enough

    The movie hero can not be portrayed in words all I can say is WOW, and that is a good wow

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    beautiful

    The cinematography, combined with colorful art direction and costume design, make this film one of the best i have seen this year

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews