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***Film Review - Hero***


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Story

A Warrior, who goes by the name of Nameless, has managed to get an audience with the Qin, Emperor of the Northern Province, to tell of how he defeated three legendary assassins that have been after the king’s life for many years. All seems good, except the Emperor starts to have his doubts...

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Zhang Yimou's epic was always going to be compared to Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and who could blame those that did: as they both shared similar settings, clothes, fight scenes and straightforward yet underlying characters.

This was clearly a double edge sword for Hero. Fans of CTHD would flock to see Hero, but at the same time, they (along with most critics) would either expect to see something which at the most, a film as good as CTHD.

However, as release time came near, adverts, pictures, trailers and magazine hype manage to make the film look less of a CTHD imitation and more of something special and different. The question went from “Is it as good as CTHD” to “Is it a CTHD beater”

 

So is it as good as CTHD or does surpass it? Well first off, the film looks sexier then all the FHM High Street Honeys put together. Somehow Chris Doyle has made even the most remote landscape look gorgeous and life like; Almost to the point it feels like your there. Vivid and beautiful with no one shot seemingly like a waste of time, you will be stunned in awe. About a year ago I said Kill Bill had the best overall cinematography. Well, looks like we have a new king!

Not to be overshadowed, the fight scenes are in a league of their own. It’s like ballet dancers who happen to know caperoia, fighting to the death. The use of wires is arguably more blatant then CTHD, but the end result is so stunning, you’d have to be a cold hearted realist to complain.

All this would only make the film good without a great story and Hero does a spectacular job. It may not seem all that compelling or imaginative. But the film progresses, it takes some neat twists and the story is told in such a way, at the end of the film you’ll be praising it along with the fantastic cinematography. Of course, it’s told fantastically by the actors, especially Jet Li…

See, this is why I feel Asian cinema is better then Hollywood overall. Not only do they know how to tell a story, but they don’t make a mistake of treating their actors wrongly (or make a habit of it at least). Not only does Jet Li look good, he does good. To say he’s the perfect lead is arguable, but when he does it so well, there’s no point in arguing about it. The rest of the cast back up Jet Li nicely, especially with the veteran talented likes of Maggie Chung and Donnie Yen and the talented “It” girl, Ziyi Zhang. The cast could be considered just the layer on the cake…but damn if it isn’t yummy.

 

With great storytelling, even greater cinematography and a strong cast to make you compelled to the whole thing, this isn’t a contender for CTHD beater; this is a CTHD beater. If this is Zhang Yimou’s warm up film…Then House of the Flying daggers could surely be the greatest movie ever made!

 

Rating - 5/5

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