View Full Version : Hero

09-16-2004, 01:29 PM
Enormously entertaining, Zhang Yimou’s dazzling epic manages to revel in all sorts of stylistic delirium while maintaining at all times a controlled sense of dignity. Part martial arts actioner, with enthralling, satisfying fight sequences, and part Chinese history lesson, Zhang paces his story (written by Zhang, Feng Li and Bin Wang) with a rushing torrent of sharp images sure to keep today’s distracted audiences locked in (it makes sense that the film is “presented” by Quentin Tarentino; it’s precisely the type of movie he admires—subtle yet exciting—and could probably never make) while delicately unfolding the mystery surrounding the motives of a nameless loner (Jet Li) summoned by the King of the Qin province (Daoming Chen) to be rewarded for bringing down the King’s three greatest threats. Aided by the peerless cinematographer Christopher Doyle, there isn’t a wasted shot and the perfect symmetry of visuals and sound editing (a myriad of sound editors are employed) is as captivating as the story being told. Zhang has a great love for his country’s history and its ritual—he seems proud to present the tale of the unification of China as well as the compassion and pragmatism of the people who forged that unification—and he trusts his content, rather than the emotions of his characters, to be his means of expression; yet when the performers do put themselves across, even the most minimal inflection (the slightest smile, for example) is devastating. With Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk and Tony Leung Chiu Wai, the soul mates from Wong Kar-Wai’s sublime “In The Mood For Love”, as two of the three threats to the King; again, they’re perfect. “Hero” is a film to surrender to—you’re aware of the joyful look on your face even as you’re hypnotized by it.