Hero
Starring:
Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Maggie Cheung Man-yuk
Directed By:
Zhang Yimou
Grade
A+

Thousands of legends tell the story of the first emperor of China. One of those legends is about a man called Nameless (Jet Li), a citizen of Zhao, whose family was killed by the armies of Qin. Nameless spends the next 10 years perfecting the ultimate assassins technique "Death Within 10 Paces" in order to take revenge on the King of Qin. But in order to get close enough to the King he must prove to him that he is loyal by slaying his most feared assassins: Sky (Donnie Yen), Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung), and Broken Sword (Tony Leung).

Although Jet Li is a major international martial arts star and has top billing, Maggie Cheung (Flying Snow) and Tony Leung (Broken Sword) really steal the show. In all three stories their relationship is always at the center of attention and they do a good job stealing the spotlight from Jet Li acting wise. Die hard Jet Li fans may be disappointed by this, but the story flows so well you wont even notice.

Speaking of story telling, Hero takes a unique approach by jumping around the time line. A style popularized by Quentin Tarantino although it has been around since written word. It may be confusing at first but once you get to the end you will understand that it would not have worked any other way. The movie begins with the meeting of Nameless and the King of Qin. Each of them tell a tale followed by another story from Nameless before the climactic finale. Through these stories you will learn of how this meeting came to pass and of the important decisions Nameless will have to make. This is the first martial arts film I have ever shed a tear. The story is very beautiful and even if your not a fan of martial arts films your life is not complete unless you watch it.

Just a fair warning they are releasing this movie in the states in April of 2004. Please check to make sure that it is playing with subtitles and chinese dialogue. Dubs of HK movies tend to completely change the meaning critical plot points that will completely ruin the movie for you. If you have to, wait for the DVD release or better yet do youself a favor and import it.

- - Grand Admiral

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