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Monday, September 22, 2014 
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Cinematronic by Michael Snyder
Film
cinematronic
  Hero cinematronic
  director

Zhang Yimou

cast

Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi, Donnie Yen, Chen Daoming

year

2002

rating rating cinematronic
  Undertaking what appears to be one more supernatural sword-and-kung fu film from Hong Kong, the brilliant, austere Chinese director Zhang Yimou is actually on a stealth mission with "Hero," an exquisitely crafted, multi-angled folk tale set in ancient times before the start of China's first dynasty. Yimou's feat was to bring the wrenching, honest romantic sensibility and philosophical bent that characterized his superb dramas "Raise the Red Lantern" and "The Road Home" to a genre best known for gravity-defying, surreal action. Burnished by painterly cinematography and inspired computer effects, "Hero" is one of the most gorgeous, sumptuous films to ever grace the eye. It's literally a five-star movie. Martial-arts idol Jet Li gets top billing as a master swordsman caught between loyalty to homeland, respect for his fellow warriors, and concern for his country's future. Li's sparring peer Donnie Yen takes him on as a feared assassin, and three of Asia's preeminent actors — Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung as lovers who are also deadly killers, and Zhang Ziyi as an apprentice — round out the cast. These figures are courage and grace personified, whether standing up to a warlord and his army or dueling one another in color-coded, gasp-worthy tableaus: amid swirling autumn leaves, on a lake surface, in a library of scrolls and more. Visually, thematically and emotionally, "Hero" triumphs.  
cinematronic
cinematronic


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