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Review: Hero

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Hero I don’t really feel like writing a full review of it right this moment, but I will say that you should do yourself a favor and rent Hero is you haven’t seen it. I think that for all the hype that surrounded Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon touting it as this amazing blend of artistic acheivement and Hong Kong martial arts action (much deserved hype, by the way), I think I actually enjoyed Hero more. I don’t think Hero was a better movie, but I enjoyed it more, if you get the fine distinction I’m trying to draw there.

Hero (2002)
Grade: A-
Directed By: Yimou Zhang
Written By: Feng Li Ben Wang Yimou Zhang
Starring: Jet Li Tony Leung Chiu Wai Maggie Cheung Ziyi Zhang
Studio: Miramax (US Distribution)

Director Zhang Yimou composes every shot in Hero with the utmost care and deliberation–the movie is simply stunning visually. The martial arts sequences boast some spectacular choreography and the Matrix-style visual flourishes add to the film’s almost otherworldly beauty. (Those shots work all the better for the fact that they’re not overused.) And while Crouching Tiger had the desert flashback that dragged the movie to a painful halt for twenty minutes, Hero doesn’t have any similar such lulls.

Making the movie even more impressive to look at: not only did it feature the luminous Ziyi Zhang (a woman definitely on my list of Ten Hottest Actresses on the Planet), but also the classic porcelain beauty of Maggie Cheung. (For you female and gay male readers: not so much for you to look at, sorry. Jet Li gets most of the face time, and he ain’t real pretty.)

Ziyi Zhang The one complaint I had about Hero really wasn’t a complaint at all and would have actually been subject to high praise had I not seen Crouching Tiger (and listened to the soundtrack CD on a regular basis). Tan Dun’s orchestral score for Hero sounds way, way too much like his score for Crouching Tiger–to the point where it sounded like he’d lifted entire passages from the earlier movie and recycled them into the later. I’m sure he didn’t do that, of course, but it was an indication of how alike the two scores sounded.

Written by Allen

January 30th, 2005 at 10:23 pm

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