September 1, 2004

Hero

Maggie and I saw Hero (Ying xiong) last night. Yimou Zhang has created a visually kick-ass martial arts film that is far more like a ballet than it is like an action film.

A lone, nameless warrior (Jet Li) sits before the king and relates the story of how he defeated three deadly assasins. But in his bloody struggle to unite China under one ruler, the warlord king has learned a thing or two, and does not take the story at face value. This leads us into flashbacks which reveal the true personalities behind the assasination attempts, and the stages in the path of the warrior.

The movie is so visually powerful that at times I felt the images just washing over me in waves. The structure (especially of the early flashbacks) was poetically dense and economical. And that was part of why it was such a treat to look at.

I’m a fan of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but I feel this film surpasses Ang Li’s popular epic.

Posted by James at September 1, 2004 10:17 AM
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Did you see "Ran"? I was interested in Hero because I thought it looked (visually, I mean, not plotwise) a lot like Ran.

Posted by: Julie at September 1, 2004 11:34 AM

I haven't seen "Ran." And it's been a while since I've seen "Rashomon."

Posted by: James at September 1, 2004 1:04 PM

I don't have Rashomon. I rented it again a few years ago and decided it was one of those movies where the actual story is much better than the movie itself.

But I do have Ran.

Funny Ran trivia - it won an Oscar for costumes. You'd have to see the movie to understand why that's funny. Oops, did I say funny? I meant ironic and insulting.

Lisa Simpson: You loved Rashomon.
Homer: That's not how I remember it!

Posted by: Julie at September 1, 2004 2:08 PM

Just to add interest here, I did *not* like the movie. This is apparently because I'm difficult and rather stupid when it comes to metaphor. It resulted in a very silent car ride home after a very brief discussion of why this movie was rather dull and overlong. Pretty as a picture, I'll grant you that. In fact, incredibly stunning. But one does get tired of the stoic one-tear watching your lover die sort of face, and these people died oh so many times.

Posted by: Maggie at September 1, 2004 9:45 PM

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