Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. 100
    Hero is a movie that lives up to all the nobility of its title, a gift to movie audiences who cherish the opportunity to be transported to a heretofore unimagined world and absorbed totally into what happens there.
  2. 75
    These people may be really, really dangerous, but they're also really, really polite.
  3. 100
    The result is both thrilling and thoughtful.
  4. 88
    A visual poem of extraordinary beauty.
  5. Swooningly beautiful, furious and thrilling, Zhang Yimou's Hero is an action movie for the ages.
  6. A walloping entertainment, brimming with the magic-realist action that made Ang Lee's somewhat similar "Couching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" a hit.
  7. Hero keeps its characters stiffly archetypal, like chess pieces sent whizzing through outrageous maneuvers. Unfortunately, this apparent choice of spectacle over intimacy put me at a slight remove.
  8. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    The comparisons are inevitable, so let's get them out of the way. Hero is a better film than "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
  9. I wish 'Hero's emotional heat rose more intensely -- more recklessly. There's something grand but distant and almost fetishistic about the operatic solemnity with which Zhang approaches the Rashomonic story of assassins attempting to kill a king.
  10. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    Hero is not a CTHD clone; it’s a wonderful movie in its own right, staking its own territory as a dreamlike meditation on motivation and love.
  11. Reviewed by: Tim Appelo
    Hero is an epic, evocative of another epoch and of landscapes beyond time. It's overwhelming. And yet I miss the animating anger of Zhang's early masterworks, in which penniless young lovers were oppressed by impotent old men.
  12. 100
    Led by director Zhang Yimou and dazzling cinematographer Christopher Doyle, the unseen Hero production team has made what just might be the most artistically sophisticated, most formally beautiful martial arts film the genre has seen.
  13. 88
    If you found "Crouching Tiger" a stunning bore, you probably won't fall under Hero's spell. But the rest of us, well, we'll be more than happy to savor every moment of its strange, ravishing beauty.
  14. As gorgeous and contemplative as it is, Hero is a genre picture and needs to deliver the action goods. To that end, there are plenty of clever, lovingly choreographed sequences.
  15. So deliriously chockablock with high-flying, color-coordinated fight scenes that non-aficionados may find it all a bit bewildering--a gorgeous abstraction. It sure is gorgeous, though, and it has a dream cast
  16. 75
    It's full of passionate performances (except for the wooden Li), sizzling swordplay, bold and dazzling hues, and breathtaking landscapes.
  17. Its stars - especially the photogenic Leung and Cheung, fresh from Wong Kar Wai's jazzy romance In the Mood for Love - are wonderfully charismatic. And wonderfully athletic.
  18. 91
    Perhaps the most beautiful film to hit Portland movie screens this year.
  19. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Hero is one of the most beautiful and involving films of the year.
  20. 75
    If there's a drawback, it's that the plot is trite. Hero is an exemplary example of visual poetry. The narrative is clearly of secondary concern.
  21. 75
    The film never musters the intimate feel the gifted director brought to such early films as "Raise the Red Dragon" and "Ju Dou." You cheer his accomplishment in Hero without ever feeling close to it.
  22. 100
    One of the most ravishing spectacles the movies have given us.
  23. Not as profound as it is pretty, Hero nevertheless gives us something to ponder beyond Zhang's feat in mounting such a magnificent production.
  24. Yimou plays his images like a visual symphony, and turns a potential costume pageant into an exhilarating national myth.
  25. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    If his (Zhang's) fight scenes don't fully intoxicate, though, his color and compositional rigor compensate for much. See Hero on the biggest screen you can find, and sit close enough for all that spiraling silk to tickle your nostril hairs.
  26. 70
    Brilliant in flashes, thinned out as a whole, the film seems ideal for the DVD revolution, where the greatest hits can be compiled at the touch of a remote.
  27. In the end, the spectacular martial-arts epic seems to signify nothing much more than its own beauty, as brilliant and ephemeral as a fireworks display.
  28. Hero is easy on the eyes, but it's too segmented to gather much momentum and too art-directed to convey much urgency.
  29. 90
    This is a leap into grandeur.
  30. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Hero is the masterpiece. It employs unparalleled visual splendor to show why men must make war to secure the peace and how warriors may find their true destiny as lovers.
  31. 70
    Though the specifics of the story may be unfamiliar to Western viewers, its broad outlines and underlying themes are universal, and Christopher Doyle's ravishing cinematography transcends language.
  32. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    A movie just good enough to keep nurturing rooting interest as you watch it.
  33. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    A dazzlingly lensed, highly stylized meditation on heroism.
  34. 70
    Zhang Yimou's impeccably crafted, all-star martial arts extravaganza, is the essence of shallow gravitas.
  35. Reviewed by: Joanne Kaufman
    Rich in motion -- the very clothes of the characters seem under a choreographer's direction -- as well as imagery.
  36. You can feel the movie's sensibility and its powerful emotions in every aching image, which leaves you so caught up in these ancient times, you're loath to return to present-day normalcy.
  37. It's a brilliant movie, fluent, spectacular, breathtaking and basically, uh, wrong.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 244 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 24 out of 137
  1. Nov 1, 2010
    Simply one of the best movies ever made in my mind. I admit you have to be bright to figure this one out, and as you read the reviews you seeSimply one of the best movies ever made in my mind. I admit you have to be bright to figure this one out, and as you read the reviews you see many people didn't. This is totally a love story.......with the best special affects ever and a good amount of action. This is about loving so much you place another human being ahead of yourself or the welfare of a country beyond yourself. Believe me the ones that didn't enjoy this are the ones that love the "Three Stooges" and talk through all the movies in the theater.
    Great movie!
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 20, 2014
    The best martial arts film I have ever seen. The visuals are breathtaking and an experience I will never forget. No other film has impressedThe best martial arts film I have ever seen. The visuals are breathtaking and an experience I will never forget. No other film has impressed me like this with its costumes, visuals, characters, story and soundtrack. It is just a masterpiece. The characters are so perfect that I can’t imagine someone else or someone better suited for the roles. The story is fantastic and will surprise with each new revelation. The fighting scenes are poetic and my reference for the genre (Remark: Not for realistic fighting just for stylish awesomeness and defying of gravity). Overall this is as close to perfection for me as possible. Full Review »
  3. Nov 27, 2011
    I like this film. The picture of this film is good ,the action ,too. The story of this film is an outstanding one. It tells a story of oneI like this film. The picture of this film is good ,the action ,too. The story of this film is an outstanding one. It tells a story of one person and his country. Full Review »