Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Hero (Ying Xiong) 
-->It would be very easy to say something like I’ve never seen anything like Hero, and leave it at that. But let me elaborate. First of all, Hero, at only around 90 minutes, is perhaps the crispest epic you’ll ever see. It has a wonderfully nuanced and extremely engaging narrative. Through the conversation between a nameless Hero (Jet Li) and an all-conquering emperor of the Qin Dynasty, regarding the former’s alleged assassination of three feared assassins – Broken Sword, Flying Snow and Sky, where each of the two strives to attain psychological one-upmanship, and through elaborate flashbacks (each being a different version of what might have transpired), the movie unfolds like an elegant seven course meal. But the striking feature of the movie, its USP, is its electrifying and you’ve-got-to-see-to-believe cinematography by the maverick Christopher Doyle, where every frame enthralled me and left me completely speechless. Using shades of an array of colours, each signifying distinct situations and highlighting specific moods, and forming a vital aspect of the story-telling, the visual opulence and beautiful poetry that Doyle has managed to achieve is overwhelming even by his vaunted standards (and that includes his arresting work in Chungking Express). The martial arts and swordplay, freely employing the iconic Wuxia genre, is stunning. And the remarkable chemistry between Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung is truly one for old times’ sake; they managed to take off from where they left off at In the Mood for Love with near flawless ease and grace. If only its length had been what is generally associated with a historical epic movie…!
Director: Zhang Yimou
Genre: Historical Epic/Adventure/Martial Arts Movie/Romance
Language: Chinese (Mandarin)