Thursday, February 01, 2007

August 31, 2004

Abridged movie review: Ying Xiong Hero

To be honest I was pretty disappointed with this movie, but before I get into that I'll do a little recap.

The movie is basically played out in a series of "flashbacks" explaining how the warrior (who has name as he was orphaned before he ever received one) took out three big time assassins (by the names: Long Sky, Broken Sword, and Flying Snow) who have been plotting and attempting for years to kill the King of Qin.

The flashbacks are brought on by Nameless retelling the story to the King of Qin, however things get a little bit muddled and confusing as during the conversation alternate versions of the events are told thus creating more flashbacks of similar events with different outcomes.

The story of the movie was a little bit weak, but normally that wouldn't matter so much in a Jet Li style movie, a pleasant story would only be a perk to help showcase the action. The action is where I'm starting to really feel the pain of this movie.

I am of the opinion that martial arts (or really any movie based on fighting) movies are relying extremely too heavily on wire fighting and special effects being mixed in. Slow motion is also being abused a little too much. These effects worked nicely in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and The Matrix but since those movies it's all been downhill, Hero used the effects to a sickening degree, I mean there was an entire fight sequence that took place on water, not IN water ON water with no boats no bridges no anything just floating men dueling. Come on at least gave an explanation as to why they were able to defy gravity (albeit a really cheesy explanation) Hero gave us no such courtesy it was just passed off as normal. What is wrong with just having the martial arts speak for themselves? Especially when they have the caliber of artists that they did that they could showcase.

Ok enough of the negative, this section will be much shorter but I thought I would point out some things I did enjoy about the movie.

First off I am very glad they opted to subtitle and not dub for the American theatrical release of this one (I'm sure the DVD will be available subtitled usually that's how it goes you can get either or), the subtitles may not be 100% correct but they are usually from what I understand about 80% better than the dubbing, I think these movies lose a little bit of their allure when viewed without the subtitles.

Another thing that was just great about this movie was the visuals, Hero was just stunning. Each "flashback" had it's own color scheme, and each fight had it's own theme as well. I think my favorite setting in the film was the chess park in the rain. The movie was very visual and very pretty, it's just a shame I had to see so much of it in slow motion.

Overall I say the movie is not worth the price of a theater ticket, it's really I'm not sure even worth rental money. If you have Netflix put it on your list and let it come sometime when your bored, otherwise wait for it to appear on Showtime or HBO or Cinimax, or Starz, or IFC.... ok wait I think I might have messed up with that last one.

That's my opinion of Hero, I'm sure I'll take flack from it from people I know might as well put it up here to remind myself come rental time not to grab it. Note to self, grab up some older Li movies from Netflix and have some kung-fu goodness in the dvd player.

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