Title: Ying Xiong (US Title: Hero)
Genre: Drama, Action
Duration: 93 minutes
I first watched this movie a long time ago and I remember I thought it was really good. Not too long ago I saw this movie was only EU2,50 at the local media store and I thought: "Why not?". So yesterday I decided to watch it again and I must say that I was still pretty impressed by it.
As the title already suggests, this is not a typical American Hollywood movie. It's a Chinese movie made by Yimou Zhang. Most people probably aren't very familiar with that name, but he might be one of the most successful Chinese directors outside of his country. He's the writer and director of great movies like House of the Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower. He was also in charge of making the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games in 2008. The style of this director is mostly characterized by using lots of beautiful visual effects. This trailer of Curse of the Golden Flower might give you a good impression of what I mean.
You could say that Hero is a typical Yimou Zhang movie. In Hero, we also see a lot of magnificent effects with water, wind, leafs, sand and other nature phenomena. I think these effects alone already make the movie worth watching. They're mostly used in the fight scenes and although the fights already look nice and flashy, the effects really turn it into eye candy. The costumes and clothing of the characters also look wonderful and the color of the clothes plays a very important in the storytelling actually.
The plot is as follows: A long time ago China was divided in seven empires. These empires have been at war for a long time. The emperor of the empire of Qin was known to be the most ruthless and the most powerful. He was seen by many as a tiran however and he has made many enemies throughout the years. There are three assassins which he sees as the most dangerous and he decided to put a bounty on their heads. These assassins are Endless Sky, Flying Snow and Broken Sword. One day, a nameless warrior going by the name of 'Nameless' claims that he has defeated the three assassins. He is invited to the palace to prove his claims and earn his rewards. After seeing the weapons of the three assassins, the emperor awards Nameless with gold, land and the honor to drink with the emperor within a distance of ten paces. The emperor would love to hear the story of how the unknown, nameless warrior was able to defeat such mighty assassins.
I don't want to spoil too much, but in the scenes afterward you see the story getting told several times and each of these stories have one color as a main theme. The first time for example everybody is dressed in red and it plays mostly in a desert with red/orange sand. This is brilliantly done in my opinion and again it creates some beautiful visual effects with very nice looking fight scenes. Of course all these stories create a lot of plot twists, but the ending was quite satisfying in my opinion. I doubt it could've ended any better than it did.
So with a very good plot and beautiful fight scenes, Hero is a must see in my opinion. Or at least, I strongly recommend it to anyone. Unless you're really not into movies of different cultures than the typically American Hollywood movie.
Oh and if you liked this one, be sure to check out the other movies I mentioned before (House of the Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower).