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Hero W/ Jet Li

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I saw this trailer a few months back. I notice they are now advertising it on TV, so I thought I would comment. I am incredibly impressed by the apparent production values and the outstandingly vivid style of this film. It looks amazingly gorgeous. In fact, some of the shots simply send shivers down my spine they are so beautiful to look at.

If the film is anything like the trailer, it should be spectacular.

Has anyone else seen it yet?

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Quentin Tarantino rally didn't have that much to do for the film. It is directed and produced by someone else, Qhentin just bought the distribution rights from what I gather. Hence the title "Quentin Tarantino Presents" on top. Someone made a comment that this would have to be the first Tarantino movie without a body in a trunk if he did have a hand in the direction.

Though it still does look good. Jet Li is a good actor and the special effects look spectacular.

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I saw it a month ago. The plot as Andrew noted was quite thin. Nevertheless it was amazing. My favorite part is when the two Assassins ravage through the Qinn soldiers to reach the Emperor, that is probably one of the best battle scenes I've ever seen. Someone once compared it to Crouching Tiger but I have to say that it's almost nothing like Tiger and unfortunately it isn't as good but it's still good enough to watch in theaters.

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A friend of mine just gave me a copy of Hero last night, the problem is, it has no subtitles, and I do not understand a word of Mandarin. The movie is shockingly beautiful, and well worth watching even if you can't understand it. :dough:

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This movie came out in Asian in 2002. I've had the import DVD for the last year & a half.

I've viewed it many times and I would not say it has a water thin plot. The story is simple but told in a complex Rashomon like way.

Here is my original spoiler free review:

As jaded as I am when it comes to kung fu films, this one delivered the goods. Far be it for me to spoil the plot, so allow me to compare this film to one other you're familiar with.

In my view, the best OVERALL martial arts film is still CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON. Although CTHD does NOT have the best, most intricate, martial arts sequence in all of cinema, overall it has that unique combination of story, acting, and martial arts which ranks number one in my book.

As for HERO, it blows away CTHD in terms of cinematography, set design, costumes, wirework, CGI, and overall visual splendor. I feel sorry for anyone who sees this film in a less than ideal home theater venue. More epic and historic than CTHD, this is Yimou's love letter to the wuxia genre.

If you're familiar with Yimou's sense of style, then HERO is the culmination of all the techniques he's garnered from his previous films. Every frame is a work of art - the way silk blows in the wind, the way rain drops upon the pavement, the way ten thousand arrows fly through the air while Jet Li & Maggie Cheung whirl around to deflect the onslaught is breathtaking. This is unlike any movie I've ever seen. Even if you turned off the sound and understood nothing in terms of plot or character development, it would still be a visual masterpiece.

With that being said, CTHD does have a more personal & involving story which in my eyes ranks it as slightly higher overall than HERO.

As for the martial arts, there is one outstanding battle between Jet Li & Donnie Yen. The rest is more stylized, less intricate in terms of long takes and authenticity, relying more on CGI & wirework, but visually amazing nonetheless. The sword fight between Zhang Ziyi & Maggie Cheung in a field of cherry blossoms is a sight I will not forget.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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I've actually seen the film, it was part of a Modern China through film course I had to take as an elective. I wrote a paper, or synopsis of its philosophical relevance. I could post the paper, which is roughly 3 pages, if anyone is interested.

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I've viewed it many times and I would not say it has a water thin plot.  The story is simple but told in a complex Rashomon like way.

After reading your post, I agree that my statement that the plot was 'non-existent' is not entirely accurate. It is is a simple plot told in a complex way, which DOES improve its status. The plot by itself wasn't that interesting to me, but it was enough of a plot to act as a sprinboard for the rest of the wonderful elements in the moive.

It's funny that you should mention Akira Kurasawa's film, Rashomon. I just saw Rashomon last week. You are exactly right in comparing the plot structures of these two films. I think it works better in Kurasawa's film than it does in Hero. I love Kurasawa and highly reccomend his work. If you dont recognize the name, some of his other films were "The Seven Samurai" and "Ran".

Any other Kurasawa fans?

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I'm confused. Has 'Hero' been released or not? I went to rent it at my video store and they did not carry it. I see people referring to it coming out in Asia in 2002. But what about here?

Hero has not been released in the U.S. yet. There will be a limited release of the film on August 20th in theatres. The only reason I have seen the film is that I have friends who spend a significant amount of time in Southeast Asia, and brought the DVD back.

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Basically, there are two versions of the DVD:

1. A 98 minute version which is the same as the one shown in theathers in Asia & will be shown in the US later this month.

2. A 110 minute version with extra footage. From my extensive research, the extra long version doesn't really add anything which is substantially different.

By the way, you would need an all region DVD player to play these discs and both are available for purchase only from retailers located outside of the US. I bought mine online from a Hong Kong retailer and had it shipped to California.

The US version of the DVD has not been released - Miramax owns the rights and they will not issue a DVD until after the film is shown in theathers later this month.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've always had certain reservations when it comes to Chinese cinema. Mainly political ones. The Chinese government has recently, as of this summer, put a momentarily freeze on American film imports. The significance of this is that during the most profitable season of film sales China has seen it fit to give its counterfeiters, or intellectual looters, a nice chunk of time to flood the Chinese market with bootleg versions of American films. By the time the American films reach China the market is already saturated with bootleg films and the Chinese government essentially steals Millions from the United States economy.


Of course their are much more significant cases of Chinese counterfeiting, including Viagra with no active ingredients, baby formula which due to its lack of nutrients resulted in the death of hundreds of Chinese infants, and of course the list goes on and on. The worst part is The United States is continually outsourcing its work force to China, including my dads company which has downsized its US work force considerably. The Chinese economy is a parasite of monstrously unethical proportions, and I try not to contribute to it whenever possible.

As for the film's premise here is an excerpt from a paper I wrote regarding the film:


"The philosophical premise imposed by the director in the production of Hero touches on a much deeper ideological parasite that threatens the sanctity of any human civilization. Soon to be Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s vision of a united China opposes the common, divisional practice of tribalist rule and in turn delineates the relevancy of ones own heritage or cultural binds that substantiate this primal system. His vision he believes is so clear and unyielding that despite the wide spread antagonism towards his views he is willing to take the lives of thousands in order to impose its validity. The goal is justifiably noble, because to understand the roots of tribalism’s ideals is to gaze upon the most blatantly ruinous results of altruist thinking. Also, to attach the notion that the one who would willingly sacrifice his own life to uphold the identity of another was in turn inevitably defeated by his own reason is a deeply insightful notion into the function of man’s realization of ones self-worth within this political context."

Of course the film seems to have a noble premise, but like the majority of Chinese cinema it attempts to depict life as is, or in their opinion flawed and tragic (for the epitome of this practice see 'Beijing Bicycle', 'Girl from Hunan', 'Bathhouse', and many others). So in this tradition the film ends on a flawed and tragic note. The film however, unlike the likes of Beijing bicycle, is much more idealistic then most Chinese films and is commendable in that regard.

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The Chinese economy is a parasite of monstrously unethical proportions, and I try not to contribute to it whenever possible.

Whatever you think of the policies of the Chinese government, the fact is that cheap Chinese exports and outsourcing have greatly boosted the standard of living in America. Every good that comes to the U.S. from China allows a slightly more valuable good or service to be created in America.

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I was perhaps a bit rash in making that judgment about outsourcing, simply because I haven't researched it enough. I was probably wrong to lump it in there with China's unquestionably immoral counterfeiting operations. However, Im going to do some research in order to validate my opinion.

And to clarify, I believe I might have gotten the terminology mixed up. By outsourcing I don't mean bringing workers over from China, I mean setting up a base of operations in China. Perhaps thats something else?

However, despite all of this I will stand by this: The Chinese economy is a parasite of monstrously unethical proportions, and I try not to contribute to it whenever possible

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