Starring: Jet Li, Zhang Ziyi, Maggie Cheung
Director: Zhang Yimou
Running Time: 99 mins
Hero is a Chinese film about a Qin warrior who is rewarded for killing three of enemy state Zhao’s deadliest assassins with an audience with the king.
This is probably one of the most visually impressive films you’ll ever see, with dazzling cinematography and fight choreography like no other. Meanwhile, the plot in itself is a little thin, and not particularly enthralling, however still action-packed enough to keep you pretty entertained.
Let’s start with the visuals. Zhang Yimou’s direction here is greater than ever, as he expertly crafts humongous landscape shots as well as beautiful fight scenes that don’t just focus on the martial arts of the battles, but use the environment surrounding them so well to make a more serene and artistic spectacle.
Like many Chinese films, this really does have the scale of the great Warring States period on screen. The sheer manpower used for some of the wider shots is incredible, whilst the images of the vast desert are also amazing, a sense of scale that contributes significantly to the drama and high stakes of the story.
The thing that this film is most famous for, however, is it’s use of various colours in different parts of the story. The plot is split into different tales, as the warrior and the king narrate their perspectives of the killing of the assassins.
In all, there are four tales set amongst four different colours: red, blue, white and green. And Zhang really goes all out to show those colours in the most vibrant way possible, with the same locations being painted into each colour, the main characters wearing only that colour clothes, and all of the props being perfectly coordinated to fit in with each colour, making for an absolutely wonderful spectacle.
In terms of the plot itself, it’s not the greatest. The three tales are episodic and feel odd together until it’s all tied up at the end (and it is a good, unpredictable ending), and whilst the battles add some rush to the plot, it’s not a particularly enthralling or exciting story to follow, so that’s why it gets a 7.3 from me.