The desert sands of Dan Gin Shan in Dun Huang, China, has some of the most remote terrain in the world and some of the most stunning too. This was where Hero , a two thousand year old epic saga was set. During the ‘Warring States’ Period, China was divided into seven Kingdoms. For year they battled for supremacy while the people suffered. The king of Qin was the most ruthless in his effort to conquer the land and unity All Under Heaven. He was regarded as a common threat by other six Kingdoms. The annals of Chinese history are abounded with tales of the assassins sent to kill the great king. This is one of the legends, which gave birth to a swordsman or a Wu Xia film, Hero.
The action sequences propelled the story. A tale of three rogue warriors on a secret mission, two lovers and a sacred vow, a king who plan to rule the world. And one man who stood on their way, Hero is a tale about loyalty and trust, about a code of honour among warriors. Blazing action with emotional depth, the blend of personal drama with epic storytelling, a visual poetry; that was the spirit of the film. The cast includes, international action start Jet Li (Nameless), Cannes award winner Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (Broken Sword), Berlin Silver Bear Winner Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk (Flying Snow), Martial arts legend Donnie Yen (Sky), Zhang Ziyi (Moon) and Chen Dao Ming (Emperor Qin). Well, the title is just Hero and not Heros though it could have been that way with the story of 4 heros, but in Chinese it doesn’t matter, the plural and the singular are the same.
The film was a colorful film, music was not that intense but follow something like the “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” style, mild tune with two distinct form produced by the passion of violin virtuoso Itzhak Periman and renowned Japenese drummers Kodo. The nice thing about the fights were the perfect blend of the renowned martial artists Jet Li and Donnie Yen with the acting of the non-action actors, they all looked expert in the movie. Zhang Ziyi puts her skill of performing arts and ballet to good use in the action sequences.
The fight scene between Jet Li (Nameless) and Donnie Yen (Sky) at the House of Chess was cool, jittery, wet and intricate. The water droplets, the moves, it is something any action movie fan would love to see. Well, there are the usual cable, wire tricks, still camera shot thingy. The fight was a traditional Hong Kong style fight scene. All actors did not seem to be affected by gravity at all in all the fights.
The clear Lakes of Si Chuan Province, fight scene between Jet Li and Tony Leung was chilling, breath-taking, colorful, yellow, green, gold, red, silent but poetic. The surrounding environment of the Lakes itself was really spectacular and you will be mesmerized by its amazing beauty. It is also stated that the waters at these lakes remain still only between 10 a.m. and 12 noon.
The autumn setting fight scene between Maggie and Ziyi in the forest of Inner Mongolia was ablazed with color, dance of swords and swift clean movements. The audience is treated with a sea of golden leaves, two ladies dressed in red dancing, fighting in the air. A quick flight of the two ladies in the woods reminds me of the flight fight between Yun Fat Chow and Zhang Ziyi in the bamboo woods of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
Nameless was executed an assassin but buried a hero. Sky gave up his sword in honor of his fallen friends. In 221 B.C., the king of Qin conquered all six kingdoms and unified China. He ceased all expeditions and built the Great Wall to protect his subjects from the Northern Tribes. The Qin Empire became the first dynasty of China. And Qin Shihuang, the first Emperor.
I will not really reveal the plots and story for people who have not seen. But it is like a narrated story between Nameless and Emperor Qin. It has virtually three versions to each episode, sometimes all three meeting at a point. There are the Nameless’s verion to Qin, Qin’s version and the True Version. All spectacularly executed. Go watch for yourself when it is released in your respective region.
I think it is not yet released in India. I bought the DVD, about a month ago mistakenly and it also turned out that the audio is only in Chinese or Mandarine but luckily I had the English Sub-tile to help me. So, I chose Chinese with English Sub-title. And it was about three times costlier than the normal DVD in Indian release version, so I am sure it is not yet mass-produced though the one I bought is a legit one from CrossWord (a leading book store chain in India).