review by Neo
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A great movie is a movie that will not be loved by everyone, but the one that like it will love it. What is classified as a great movie? Well, I don't have an answer as movies are made primarily for entertainment, but what separate a good movie and a great movie is a movie that goes beyond the storyline, by challenging the audience to think long after the credits it rowing. A movie that can stand out even after repeated viewings and the important of all connecting to the audience and ultimately the feeling. Sounds like mission impossible, but somehow, Zhang Yimou's Hero is essentially one of these. And what a movie it was. In fact what a hell of a movie it was. I can still vividly remember myself scratching my head almost 2 years ago, after watching Hero and feeling somewhat empty and emotionless. However, it was that feeling that made me think about it, that got me watching a second time and geez it was a hell lot better. Then a third and a forth and now after almost half a year without touching it - I watched it again. And guess what - I loved it. A movie that can be described in words, but never fully until one's share the experience themselves. To call Hero the great movie is an understatement, but to call it the greatest would be an exaggeration, but let's just simply call it - a hell of a good movie.
The plot is pointless to dwell on as most of you have already seen it or even more than me (well at least some of you), so I will go straight to me take on it. As I prescribed in the above paragraph, it is a hell of a movie and if you haven't seen it not once but at least twice than stop what you are doing right now, yes even if you are going to sleep, and watch the movie right now. Okay, I am sure in a few hours time, you will go back here and say: that's was a crap movie, and yeah you are dead right, not. Sure this movie is one that will be disliked and loved and either way is not wrong at all. I remember that my mum and my sister didn't like it, but my dad cheered it on and myself needless to say more. Wait aren't I talking now, oh well, let's continue, if there is any flaws in Hero it may be nothing. Cause personally I can find no flaws at all. Yes, you are right, I love the movie and so as the saying goes "love is blind" so don't you even ask me about the flaws, cos I will answer you - What flaws? Oh alright let's get back to the essential question. Wait what essential question, well the fact is that there isn't one. The performance of Jet Li is probably the best in his career, sure many of you will say, yeah right what a stone figure, and yes you are dead right. Even in my first viewing I was thinking, bad Jet bad. But now I take a different perspective (well see I stress on perspective) his performance is layered and is very adequate for the role. You can see him bottling up his angry all the time and the way he changes to a more relax attitude in the ending really underline how he finally can let go his years of anguish - bottling up and that I call good acting. Sure, Tony Leung acted greatly and especially the red scenes and his contrasting last - his eyes can tell a thousand words showing why he is truly HK greatest actor ever. While Maggie is touching in the final scenes, is strikingly untouchable and truly an accomplished actress. While many may claim Zhang Ziyi over acted her scenes, what I will say is that she did her job adequately and made a lasting impact in her very small role given. Same can be say of Donnie Yen who is without a great action director, shows once again he is one of the better supporting actors out there, with a good early on scene stealing performance against Jet. The fight is very well shot and combines with film noir style showing that peace in the mind the greatest swordsman skill, not just physically attacking someone. While the fight may not be as memorable as OUATIC 2, without any doubt it is better shot and a beauty to watch, without a single problem of being bored even after watching it so many times.
Yeah, by now, what you are thinking may well be thinking that I am a idiot and fanatics who has nothing better to do in life than watching Hero, then you are practically wrong, cos I am not a fanatics, but rather some one that has a interest in films. (well as if it matters) Really, while my review may not be though-provoking, the movie really is. If you reckon my review is not giving you a picture of how much I loved this movie, then what you should do is shut out your mind and forget the time you spent reading this bullshit and watch the movie straight away. Well, excuse my aggression, but really, don't watch the movie for fights or even pay too much attention to fight scene as the movie is not about that and the director is not trying to show that. Follow the story, play close attention and I am pretty sure that you will either loved it or hate it. This movie gave me great interest to discover more about the Qin dynasty and ancient China where I even did a Major Work on the First Emperor of China, for those that are interested, stay tuned for the release of it pretty soon, and the controversial question that I based it on was: how does the views of the rule of Qin Shih-huang changes through time, due to the political, economical and social context of its times. Maybe that didn't make sense, cos I forgot my exact question. Neways, that will be released, well I will set the date then - December 6 2004. Although I have finished the Major Work, it is going through editing so bear for the long wait. (as if anyone want to read it)
All in all, despite my ongoing bullshit, what I really want to say is that I loved Hero, not after the first viewing but after repeated viewings. While Fist of Legend is my favourite movie, Hero is the one that can easily displace that position and in my honest opinion it probably have already. Really, I am tired of saying I love this movie and I love this movie, so why don't you just go and watch and see if you agree with me at all. If not, don't blame me for wasting your time, but rather blame yourself for not liking what Quentin claims it as "the masterpiece".
I rate it 10/10
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Product Title : Hero
Artist Name(s) : Jet Li| Tony Leung| Maggie Cheung| Donnie Yen| Zhang Ziyi
Language : Mandarin
Duration : 120 minutes
Reviewed by Neo (Andrew) - August 2004