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February 9, 2011 / Prof Cupcake.

not my hero

Yet another film in the semi-endless parade of mystical Chinese dramas, Yimou Zhang’s HERO is a colorful yet ultimately disappointing film. While fluid camera shots, elegant fighting and a flair for fabulous color make it eminently watchable, the vacuous plot lulled me into a state of disinterest.  The plot cleverly tries to explore the relationships between four fighters and the emperor of the Qin, yet through the endless rehashing of the same general story, we are unable to establish any defined character. Since only the vaguest of character elements surface through the quagmire of repetition one cannot help but become emotionally detached from the experience.

Once can argue that through these ever chimerical retelling of a central stories we are experiencing a truer form of the narrative as the fiction moves towards reality, yet for an audience the high density of fighting over content curbs ones involvement with the narratives. They begin to flow into one endless battle that while elegant is superfluous. The films central concept may be clever but its execution in lack luster.

As far as the acting is concerned, there is little.  Unlike Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon which used swordfighting to explore the emotional states and desires of the characters, the fighting here is simply a pleasing visual experience. With out the gravitas of their fighting, and with such little dialogue, the acting takes a back seat. Tony Leung Chiu Wai is good as BROKEN SWORD, yet his hair is by far the better performer. Jet Li’s is as ever competent in his performance as Nameless but ultimately unmemorable, while Maggie Cheung as FLYING SNOW just comes off as ever so slightly crazy.

Most Beautiful of all in this film is how the Director uses Color to tell the section of the stories. Creating entire pallet schemes focused around vibrant red’s, yellows, orange’s blues and green. Yet for all of it’s visual beauty, there seems to be no logical reason for these choices, as the color’s in no way interact with the plot. One desires more from this and it is sad that the film is lacking.

A film worth seeing if one feels up for it, yet in no way a must see movie.





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