Littered with international awards an nominations including choreography, art direction, cinematography and original score, Hero is another classic Chinese film along the lines of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. This epic story, set in magestic backdrops and magnificent sets and costumes, brings this genre to the big screen in all of its glory. The movie itself plays along through a set of flashbacks – some real, some fiction – carried by narative accounts from Jet Li and Daoming Chen. Perhaps due to the duplicity of the accounts, perhaps because I don’t understand much of Chinese culture (but learning), it seemed that there were jumps in the story and in the angles. Part of the alure is that everything was not resolved and tied up neatly — much is left to the imagination and this only lends to the great scale of the film.
Reportedly the most expensive Chinese film to date, Hero seemed to spare no expense and despite it’s delayed launch in America (two years after its release in Asia). There is a lake scene which took over two weeks to film because there was only a two-hour filming window due to the director’s insistence that the lake be glass-smooth. While this may sound extreme, the effect is wonderful. Another insight into the scale of the film can be expressed in a number: 18,000 (estimated number of extras used).
Utilizing a captivating story, excellent martial art choreography and simply stunning cinematography and only crippled by a single sensual scene, Hero garners a 5 star rating.