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Ancient China (third century B.C.) was divided into seven kingdoms, and the most powerful lord was the King of Qin (Chen Dao Ming). He wants to unite China under his own rule. But he lives in fear of his life, most particularly from a trio of deadly assassins: "Broken Sword", "Flying Snow" and "Long Sky" (Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Donnie Yen respectively). And lest they get close to him, everyone is kept at a far distance and the King is surrounded by armed guards.
Then a man called Nameless (Jet Li) arrives, announcing that he has somehow killed them, and is actually permitted to sit within a certain distance of the King. How could he have killed three incredibly powerful warriors? Not just by his impressive martial arts skills, but through his cunning as well. He uses sexual divisions and jealousy, calligraphy (yes, calligraphy), and his wits to defeat all three assassins in turn.
But the king is not convinced that Nameless is telling the whole truth, and concocts a version of his own that also explains Nameless' actions and choices. A game of wits starts to form between the mysterious warrior and the wily king. What is the truth behind the hero's story?
Despite having been released much later, "Hero" was apparently the first of Yimou's wuxia action movies -- and while it doesn't cover much new ground in the fantasy martial arts area, it's a magnificent and awe-inspiring film.Read more ›
Summary: a prefect from a small village (Nameless) tells the story of how he killed 3 assasins to the Emperor of one of the early chinese kingdoms. The movie is a game between Nameless and the emperor, as Nameless tells his story, and then the Emperor extrapolates what really happened, this goes back and forth until it is revealed that Nameless is actually there to kill the emperor. 99 percent of the movie is flashbacks.
The Good: the fu was pretty top notch. Having just watched Iron Monkey though, I have to say it wasn't the best. What was interesting is that most of the fighting was weapon based, which was a nice twist to the usual hands and feet combats in most Wuxia. The plot was an interesting one that kept you guessing. The way that everyone wore a different outfit in each flashback depending on who was telling the events was very well done.
The Bad: The presentation I just didn't like. It was overly artsy. I was a cool concept to have one story told, then another, then the true story, but I think I would have rather just watched what really happened the first time through. There was a fight on water (that supposedly just happened in two of the characters minds, I told ya it was a bit artsy), that was just too over the top. It was so unrealistic that it was just dumb.
The Ugly: this was just a bit too convoluted. You end up watching the same fight 3 times or so with different twists each time. Some of the character interactions become blurred (were the assasins really in love with each other, or was that just part of the 'tale' made up).
Overall: a pretty cool movie. A unique story telling style. Good Fu. Just not the best modern Wuxia I have seen. I liked it, but I like others moreso.
I see no reason why Western audiences would not be enthused by this movie; the story is built on many intriguing layers, but the basic plot is seemingly easy to understand. Jet Li plays a nameless warrior who comes to the court of the king (Daoming Chen) of the Quin province to present him with the swords of his greatest enemies, the assassins Sky (Donnie Yen), Broken Sword (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), and Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung). Quin is the largest and most powerful of the Six Kingdoms, and the king's dreams of unification have been stymied for years because of the dangers posed by these deadly assassins. The nameless hero is the first person granted the right to come closer than 100 paces from the king in the last three years. It is odd that the knowledgeable king knew nothing of this minor official turned hero before now, so he is most interested in hearing how the nameless warrior dispatched the three most deadly fighters in all the land.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Great story and cinematography! Kid friendly and adult entertaining alike! Subtitled!Published 18 months ago by Heddie
An action/adventure film about a defence officer who was summoned by the King of Qin. The defence officer claims to have slain three of the most deadliest assassins but to claim... Read morePublished 21 months ago by MCM132128
This i s a spectacular film! Coming as it did after Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, expectations were very high in North AmericaFa, and having Quentin Tarantino "bring" it... Read morePublished on Dec 26 2013 by Village Poet
J'avais perdu mon premier DVD et j'ai du racheter celui-ci. Toujours aussi bon.
Fantastic movie with beautiful images of the four seasons.
A thoroughly enjoyable film, and definitely a high class piece of work. Along the lines of Crouching Tiger, Curse of the Golden Flower, The Banquet (Legend of the Black Scorpion),... Read morePublished on Aug. 26 2009 by B. Armitage
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