Hero (Ying Xiong) - 2002
A masterpiece on every level, Hero brings together China's biggest stars under the helm of it's best director, Zhang Yimou (The Road Home.) Jet Li stars as Nameless, and he comes to the King's palace with the story of how he defeated the kingdom's three most feared assassins. The most beautiful cinematography imaginable, evocative music by Tan Dun (Crouching Tiger), superb acting by Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Daoming Chen, and Zhang Ziyi, excellently choreographed action sequences, and a sophisticated plot make this one the greatest movies ever.
Reviews and Articles
Chicago Tribune Review - Swooningly beautiful, furious and thrilling, Zhang Yimou's "Hero" is an action movie for the ages. Based on the historical legend of China's first emperor, "Hero" is a wild and lovely fantasia: a feast of lavish visuals and a heart-stopping explosion of cinema pyrotechnics and fight choreography that, in scene after scene, leaves you almost breathless.
Absence as spectacle: Zhang Yimou's Hero - Spectacle, rather than storytelling, teaches Hero’s philosophy. It is difficult to overstate the magnitude of the filmmaker’s aesthetic achievement: the set-pieces crafted by Zhang Yimou, Christopher Doyle, and Ching Siu-tung are as ecstatically kinetic and as rapturously beautiful as any I’ve seen in a wuxia pian....Hero’s characters, themselves, led by Broken Sword, learn progressively to renounce what they have been striving for, and grow to accept that their goals were merely provisional, way-stations on the path to something greater, though less tangible. All except the King, who alone at the end in possession of his authority has a power now approaching unchallenged hegemony. But this is a power that seems empty, whose value is completely degraded when compared with the understanding his rivals, the assassins, have achieved.
Interview with director Zhang Yimou - "This is real change in Ziyi's acting. Now if I have to shoot her crying, I'm not afraid of shooting multiple takes, because there's always a possibility that the last take will be the best one. Maggie Cheung's got the same talent. And I've caught Ziyi studying her performance very intently. It's a smart move. There's a lot Maggie can teach her."
Interview with the Action Choreographer - "Zhang Ziyi, having background in dancing, we shot it as if shooting a dance. It was very well rehearsed, there was no need for doubles. Her performance was considerably better than in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Many sophisticated and dangerous stunts were designed and it was fortunate that she was very intelligent and picked things up very quickly. Her stunts were the most difficult."
MonkeyPeaches: Hero - Production history and news.
Time Asia: Making of a Hero - Excellent collection of articles and interviews.
IMDb: Hero - Cast and crew, awards, etc.
RottenTomatos: Hero- Collection of reviews.
Trailer- The trailer for Hero is mediocre, even though the movie is magnificent.
| From the Director's cut - A scene most of you haven't seen before. Moon (Ziyi Zhang) asks Nameless to heed Broken Sword's advice, and she tries to kill herself to prove her devotion to her master's teachings.
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|Moon and Nameless clash - I think the beauty of this fight was underappreciated. It has some gorgeous scenes, such as the overhead shot of their somersaults.
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For more Hero pictures see the ZIMS gallery at ZiyiFilms. Below is a selection of the best.