HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Now Showing Today's Date:


Not particularly known for powerful cinematic exports, China occasionally makes a real gem of a film and shares it with the world. The latest diamond in the rough to emerge is Hero, the newest film by Zhang Yimou (Yimou Zhang, if we’re thinking in Western terms). Starring Jet Li, this historical, dramatic and slightly romantic kung fu flick is a fantastic example of what the Chinese film industry can produce, when given the proper kinds of attention (and money).

The film takes place during the reign of the first emperor, Qin (played by Chen Daoming). A bloodthirsty warlord, he’s earned the hatred of many of the people he’s conquered in his march to his dream of a unified empire, and lives in protective isolation to prevent his death by assassination. One of his magistrates approaches. Nameless (Jet Li) claims to have defeated the Emperor’s three most feared enemies, Sky (Donnie Yen), Broken Sword (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), and Flying Snow (Maggie Chiu), through cunning and martial skill.

Much of the events unfold in flashback format though the eyes of Nameless, who tells of his martial skill in defeating Sky, and of his intricate plot to use Broken Sword and Flying Snow’s love against each other. We also see the story through the eyes of the Emperor, who sees something much more sinister and more threatening to his reign. When we finally reach the truth, it’s not what’s expects, and that’s a true delight.

The first and foremost thing about this movie that anyone will notice is the incredible cinematography. In fact, you may miss parts of the movie because it’s so beautiful that staring occupies more of your time than actually following the plot. Hero is simply breathtaking in its visuals, with rich colors in varying shades saturating many of the flashbacks, and incredible shots of vistas and scenery that are stunning.

Even the martial arts sequences (and there are plenty) are gorgeously filmed, and the first fight sequence being a perfect example. The partially imaginary battle in an open air chess house in the rain is the best fight choreography and cinematography that I have ever witnessed. Jet Li and Donnie Yen provide amazing performances. Every fight in the movie is beautiful, but this opening sequence is hands down the best.

The plot of the movie is interesting, and has no basis in actual history, except that the first Qin emperor was really very bloody and ruthless, and did use war and death to unite the six warring factions of China. The intricate plot twists are interesting to watch unfold, as is each version of the story. Nameless’ ability to manipulate each of the assassins shows his character’s intelligence and cunning. During the whole movie, we are reminded that while the Emperor is the Emperor, and the assassins are some of the best in the world, they are all still human. Nameless is the one using their flaws, petty jealousies, pride, and romantic affairs to his own purposes.

Jet Li does a great job in his role as Nameless, keeping the aloofness that Nameless needs to have, but still with the determination and purpose of his goal very much in the fore. All of the actors, while little known here in the US, do very well in their roles, playing each part solidly and strongly, bringing different nuances to each flashback, showing us different versions of the same people with a great flair.

Sadly, though their performances are strong, there are parts of the film that feel slightly overdone, stepping in to the realm of the melodramatic, and in those parts the movie loses part of its epic feel, and starts to look like a really well done soap opera. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen often, and when it does, it doesn’t last long.

Overall, this movie has everything to make any film fan happy. It’s a solidly written historical drama, with romance for some, major fight scenes for others, a splendid cast and a great story. Catch this one in the theater, folks. It’s worth it.


Erin Frost

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites