Wednesday 26th January 2022

Hero (12A)
Directed by: Zhang Yimou
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz
Ever felt like you were being followed?
Ever felt like you were being followed?

This subtitled Chinese movie, originally titled Ying Xiong, may not be at the top of everyone’s list of films to see, but in this critic’s opinion, it should be. Hero was made two years ago, but has struggled to secure an international cinema release, despite its incredible success on DVD.

However, it is here now and because subtitled Chinese films aren’t exactly the stuff box-office records are usually made of, you should hurry out and see this film while it is still on the big screen.

Martial arts guru Jet-Li plays Nameless, an assassin who has become famous in ancient China, at a time before the separate kingdoms were united. The King of Qin has designs to achieve peace throughout the land by conquering all the other kingdoms, an idea which is not that popular with most of the Chinese citizens.

The reason for Nameless’ newfound fame is that he is rumoured to have killed the top three assassins in China, all of whom had been hired to assassinate the King of Qin. However, when Nameless comes to the King’s court to receive his reward, the details of his encounters with the other three assassins are unfolded to the audience in a series of flashbacks.

The plot of this movie is not that unusual, but it is told in a rare way and it is not something you will see very often in Western cinema. However, the plot really plays second fiddle to the rest of the elements of this film. The fight choreography is fantastic and perfectly executed by the cast, which includes trained dancer Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).

The most striking thing about this film though, and the reason people should see it, is the incredible visual impact created by the brilliant use of colour and movement. There are simply no words to describe some of the scenes in this film, and all credit must go to the director Yimou Zhang for a groundbreaking example of breathtaking imagery.

Hero is rumoured to be the most expensive Chinese film ever made and it is worth every penny - not only of its budget, but also of the price of your cinema ticket to see it!

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Length: 96 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 24th September 2004

Top Five Rating: 80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0% (80.0%)
User Rating: 100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0% (100.0%)

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