HERO   - A  Narada   Film Review

  Noname (JET LI) does   
  battle in layered    
   The assassin, Noname,   
   (JET LI) 
   Flying Kong-fu at a   
   new level of intensity.  
Hero -  2002   - Bill Kong - Producer

  Reviewed 15 Feb. 2003   HERO is the story, in epic proportion, of the depths of treachery and brutality & the heights of idealism and sacrifice.  Two thousand years ago, the emperor of the 6th Chinese Kingdom shrewdly and vigorously sought to take the other 5 kingdoms by force.  His successes, to include elimination of many assassins, were legion - he appeared unstoppable.  But it was not a given that this would always be.   For now an assassin has successfully infiltrated the Royal compound, --but his intent, his design are not transparent.    Nor is the emperor without unusual resources.   The scene is set for some good storytelling.
       The gong-fu and the swordplay are excellent.  Excellently performed, excellently choreographed and excellently augmented with special effects.  This may sustain a fever-pitch of excitement in the uninitiated, but it is frustrating for the true aficionado; its all just a little too excellent.  Why watch Jet Li perform as an accomplished master, only to have someone with zero ability perform as illustriously through special effects and cinematographic genius?    Its like having Pavarotti sing Mickey Mouse cartoons.  "Flying martial arts" has a place. but that place wasn't here.  Hint : viewing audiences are already tired of people flying, running on water, and twisting through the air like whirling dervishes.  It was enough to put you off your popcorn.  
       And speaking of 'cinematographic genius', Christopher Doyle needs to take a bow just about now.  His main failing in HERO is his tendency toward "still life" photography.  Granted, still life photography is an art form, it just isn't a cinematic art form.  On the other hand, he was able to do more with the blowing of the wind (literally) than most of his peers today can accomplish with the full spectrum of light itself.  I sense an award, or two, heading his way.
      Enduring Line or Phrase:  "...the only person who understood my true motives was my worst enemy."

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