Hero | Review
Shades of Color
Epic might be limited as a period piece, but Yimou sets a new standard for all martial art films.
Finally! Zhang Yimouâ€™s epic film gets a release date, and thankfully itâ€™s not a direct-to-video mortuary release. Pushed back into an abyss of incomprehensible marketing decisions, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragonâ€™s martial arts cousin finally makes its way onto the big screen and thankfully, the film was left completely in tack. The only Weinstein touch-up was a slight alteration in the marketing presentation of the film â€“ being referred to as â€œQuentin Tarantino presentsâ€¦â€ in all the filmâ€™s advertisements. Itâ€™s an instantaneous money-making golden stamp of approval that might be good for Miramax other grounded titles.
Chinaâ€™s biggest movie production ever looks impressive, feels massive and features some of the best players in Asian cinema. Jet Li (Cradle 2 the Grave) plays the fearless, bigger-than-life warrior named Nameless, a mythical figure who, after all, did make a name for himself as a historical embedded hero. Sort of like verses in a song, this film is section off into three offerings â€“ the same faces re-do the same actions only with slight changes in some of the text. The tale sees the progression of a one on one conversation, Nameless explains the chronology of events and how he eliminated the threats to the kingâ€™s throne. Yimou books each action sequence will this conversation a calibrated tense encounter. The impeccable cast consisting of Donnie Yen (Shanghai Knights), Tony Leung (Infernal Affairs), and Maggie Cheung (Millennium Mambo) who play Sky, Broken Sword and Flying Snow are the three potential spoilers in the plans of the King of Qin. To his non-surprise – there is a fourth one.
Hero doesnâ€™t limit itself to combats, Zhang Yimouâ€™s highly-stylized action drama and first foray into the martial art genre is a creative exploration into myth and history. In the form of Kurosawa’s Rashomon, Yimou covers each flashback segment with a fantastical fight sequence. Blankets of color, of lush camera work and pulverizing movements literally paints the picture, – most of the film merges nifty cgi to the abundant set-ups of imagery to marvel at with the touch from cinematographer Christopher Doyle (The Quiet American). Each sequence is individually stylized with various film speeds, use of dÃ©cor and of use of color to create emotional metaphors. The sequence that takes place among pounding rain-drops and the one that shows a sword swinging tornado forces amongst golden autumn leaves are sublime and visually breathless.
There is clearly a new acceptance for the kung-fu, martial art films from Asia. While most testosterone movie fans like their action films like their action American Chinese food, this is distinctly different â€“ its â€˜Chineseâ€™ Chinese food that is easily accessible even with Yimouâ€™s redefining touch â€“ his attention to detail in each magically crafted duel offers a delightful mirage in modern cinema. If there is a positive facet to Miramaxâ€™s incompetent schedule making itâ€™s that there are only a couple of months left until the release of Yimouâ€™s next feature. Hero is a prologue to a great shifting in Zhang Yimouâ€™s career.
Viewed in Original Mandarin language with English subtitles.