Hero with Jet LiMuch like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Hero is a film that uses traditional Chinese Opera style fight scenes combined with excellent storytelling to create an epic Chinese Martial Arts movie.

The movie starts off with Jet Li’s character Nameless travelling to meet the king of Qin.  The king is quite impressed with the accomplishments of Nameless after he has apparently killed all three top assassins who are out to kill the him (the king).

When he arrives, Nameless tells the tale of his victory and is rewarded with gold and property, and allowed to approach the King who, until now, has never had anyone come within 100 paces of him for some years.

Nameless tells the king how he killed Long Sky, Flying Snow and Broken Sword.  But the king doesn’t believe his story, using his better judgement to pick at the gaps of Nameless’ story.  The king proposes what really happened.

Afterwards, Nameless admits to his lie and then tells the truth and reveals his plan to assassinate the king with his killing move that can be executed flawlessly from the distance between the two men.  Nameless however, has second thought about going through with the assassination.

The Plan

The above is a really quick skim over the surface of a much deeper story, the plan itself is rather interesting.  Nameless’ original false story was that he killed all three assassins, Long Sky, Flying Snow and Broken Sword.  A lie easy spotted by the king.

Jet Li vs Donnie Yen

The King of Qin insists that Long Sky gave his life to the cause (of killing the king of Qin) by allowing Nameless to kill him in front of Qin guards. He then proposes that Falling Snow gave her life for the cause while the death of Broken Sword is staged.

The real truth is that all 3 assassins are alive.  Jet Li’s character nameless has perfected a technique which will stab through an opponent, giving the appearance of a fatal wound but missing all major organs and allowing a full recovery.  He then uses this in public to stage the deaths of the assassins, in order to get close enough to the king to kill him.

Use of the Color Red

The use of Color

I found it extremely interesting that each story told, add a definite color that identified and separated it form the other stories – a tool I think was used to keep the audience from being confused.

The first story (Nameless’ lie) has a heavy emphasis on the colour red.  The king of Qin tells his story and most of the characters and setting is in a Sky Blue.  When the truth is finally told, a righteous white seems to be the main colour of each scene, with Broken Sword telling a story of his own where everything is green.

This really gave the movie a visual look that was really unique.  The only scene which seemed not to have a dominant color (other than a bland gray maybe) was the fight between Nameless and Sky.

Use of the color Blue

The Grandness of the Story (spoilers)

This movie really revolves around some big events and themes.  Nameless decides not to kill the king after being convinced by Broken Sky (a delayed change of heart) not to.  Broken Sky gives him two words:

“Our Land”

This statement stood for the true intention of the king of Qin.  While many hated him because of his hostile takeover of the many states of China, the king of Qin was really looking for unification of a separated nation.  To uinify the states into one country.

Nameless sacrifices his life after stating that king should unify the states and not let him die for nothing.  A strong message about sacrifice for the bigger picture.

The Action & Martial Arts

Very much a wire fu film.  Characters fly, skim a long water and perform ridiculous mid air fights that defy science.  But that’s the style best suited to these movies – it’s not about creating violence but somewhat of a dance that tells the story of the fight, the high level of skill and superior ability of the characters.

Jet Li and Donnie Yen

The stand out fight would be Jet Li (Nameless) vs Donnie Yen (Sky).  This fight was the most grounded, with two martial arts legends creating a very calm atmosphere throughout the fight.

The fights aren’t really exciting, just balanced and almost poetic and rhythmic.  Not a huge draw if you want excitement, but some of the fight scenes performed are still impressive, especially between Jet Li and Donnie Yen.

Overall, you need an appreciation for poetic Wire Fu if you want to enjoy the fights of this film.

Would I Recommend it?

If you liked Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon – Yes.  If you want to be told a deep story that’s visually stunning and thought provoking – Yes.  If you want exciting martial arts action /violence that gives you an adrenaline rush simply by watching – no.

This movie is more story than action, so it depends on what you’re looking for!

Find it on Blu-Ray

Region A (US & Canada)
Hero on Blu-ray

Region B (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, etc)
Hero on Blu-ray

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)
Hero on DVD

Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Hero on DVD

Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Harder to find then expected!

More info on DVD & Blu Ray regions here

Or Watch it Online Here(US & Canada)

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