We Could be ‘Hero’es

I want to review the new Jet Li film Hero, but I’m finding it really hard to describe it without giving away the plot intricacies.

Hero is basically a cross between Rashomon and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It’s a lyrical, beautiful Chinese fairy tale, and it’s told all in flashback from differing character perspectives. I would say that its many layers peel away like an onion, except onions are clunky, mundane things, and Hero and all its layers are ravishingly beautiful and otherworldly. Seriously, every frame of this movie looks like a painting.

Although the story really only concerns four or five people, it somehow manages to be epic in scope. It moves back and forth between the intimate and the epic effortlessly. I actually found the storyline and characters much more engaging than those of CTHD. I think every review for Hero is going to compare it to CTHD, so I’ll just get it over with: I liked Hero better, even though I love CTHD. The only thing CTHD has over Hero is the acting. Jet Li is no Chow Yun Fat, (tho it’s almost unfair to compare anyone to CYF. ) but he anchors the film solidly enough. It’s the secondary characters who really make Hero great. The incredibly gorgeous Maggie Cheung plays one of a pair of star-crossed ass-kicking lovers, and their story gives Hero it’s emotional heft.

Yes, there is much wire-fu and mystical ramblings about the nature of swordplay and the Way of the Warrior. But if you can get into the spirit of this movie as a fairy tale none of the above will seem silly or contrived. And getting into the spirit is not hard at all. This movie will drag you into its world, and you will be happy to be there.

Bottom line: Hero. See it!

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