Hero

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 518 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 37 out of 518

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User Reviews

  1. Mar 11, 2011
    4
    Occasionally spectacular. Often ridiculous and pretentious. Wooden acting. Bad dialogue. Unconvincing story. Completely unbelievable ending. With this movie, Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower, once respected director Zhang Yimou has stopped making films with any meaning or social significance and simply gone after the money.

    Shame.
  2. Feb 5, 2012
    4
    Desperately disappointing. Could have been so much more but, despite amazing visuals, a vaguely interesting twist, and an intriguing justification for China's... unique style of governance this movie is a waste of time. Both the plot and fight scenes were far weaker than anticipated.
  3. BitBurn
    Sep 10, 2004
    5
    I hate sub-titled films! But mostly ones that I really just wish I could understand the language of origin! Nonetheless, Hero doesn't suck. Don?t feel right either. Special Fx are pretty cool though.
  4. ChadS.
    Sep 14, 2004
    6
    "Hero" looks like a masterpiece. Cinematographer Christopher Doyle will get an Oscar nomination for his work here. The transformation of the yellow petals to red after an apparent death is mind-bogglingly beautiful, as are many of the other set pieces. But is the film too beautiful for any of the action scenes to be truly exciting? Perhaps, for a confrontation to be dramatic, you have to "Hero" looks like a masterpiece. Cinematographer Christopher Doyle will get an Oscar nomination for his work here. The transformation of the yellow petals to red after an apparent death is mind-bogglingly beautiful, as are many of the other set pieces. But is the film too beautiful for any of the action scenes to be truly exciting? Perhaps, for a confrontation to be dramatic, you have to believe the two principles are breaking a sweat. When Nameless (Jet Li) and Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung) deflect the raining arrows, or when F.S. storms the emperor's compound with Broken Sword(Tony Leung), it looks preposterous, like the feat of a video game character. And since aesthetics takes precedence over the mortality of each combatant, we're watching something akin to modern dance. "Hero" reminded me of Vincent Ward's "What Dreams May Come", another film that was a visual wonder, but failed to engage the viewer with its story. Maybe the soundtrack needed a little John Williams bombast to get your blood circulating. Let's blame it on the violin. Expand
  5. DT
    Sep 18, 2004
    6
    The movie, although beautifully shot, was by far too slow. I had been waiting expectantly for a movie to come out that pitted Jet Li against Donnie Yen, and I must admit I was a bit disappointed. And what's with the ending? Do chinese/ Mandarin movies ever have a "happy ending". A good movie overall but in terms of action (and I mean realistic action) I expected alot more.
  6. BobP.
    Sep 1, 2004
    6
    Good movie, and started out wonderfully. Can't question the beauty and style of the movie, but its just too drawn out. It gets repetitive; I think they could have trimmed off nearly half an hour and still kept the story, art, and direction that make this film great.
  7. CraigS
    Dec 3, 2004
    4
    While pretty to watch (for the first hour) the story was flawed and contrived, and the entire caligraphy-swordsmanship connection...c'mon! My girlfriend really liked it, but I could barely see it through to the end. There are very few movies that constantly make me check my watch - this is one of them.
  8. BenZ.
    Aug 27, 2004
    6
    Hero is not a bad movie, but it is not the masterpiece that some make it out to be. The cinematography was amazing, but the story was horribly fragmented. With that in mind, the first time I saw it, it put me to sleep (literaly). My opinion improved slightly after seeing the movie all the way through.
  9. Quiet
    Aug 30, 2004
    6
    This is a hard one to judge. The cinematography was fantastic. The use of color and texture, motion and pose, were fantastic. However, by the third time the story was told, I stopped caring which was the truth and which wasn't. This is a very well crafted movie, worthy of being seen.
  10. BonejesterA.
    Sep 30, 2004
    5
    Excellent visuals, but the story is disjointed and overdone. Does Jet Li have any emotions besides "bad@ss"?
  11. susand
    Jan 10, 2005
    4
    This movie is beautifully shot, the visual effects are stunning, but the characters are so underdeveloped that one does not care what happens to them...........the movie is one huge fight scene. This is only the 2nd movie in 25 years of watching movies where I actually stopped watching after 1 hour.
  12. Dan.B.
    Aug 29, 2004
    6
    If they played at normal speed everything that was in slo-mo, this movie would be 14 minutes long.
  13. ScottG
    Sep 19, 2004
    5
    Beautiful but nonsensical (and a little s-l-o-w). In the end, when the final "aha" twist is revealed that reshapes all we've seen before, it left me wondering why Nameless went through all that he did. Still, I like seeing 20 minutes dedicated to the color RED (and it was nice to see that YELLOW and BLUE got equal time)!
  14. PatrickM.
    Sep 3, 2004
    4
    This movie is very pretty and has a few clever bits. However, it is slow and trite. There is an apparent perception amongst some Chinese film makers (and American critics) that the cheesiest cliches of Hong Kong martial arts cinema (spinning through the air, running on water, etc.) are somehow "artistic". They're not, they were cheesy when they were first done fifty years ago and This movie is very pretty and has a few clever bits. However, it is slow and trite. There is an apparent perception amongst some Chinese film makers (and American critics) that the cheesiest cliches of Hong Kong martial arts cinema (spinning through the air, running on water, etc.) are somehow "artistic". They're not, they were cheesy when they were first done fifty years ago and they are cheesy now. Expand
  15. QBeing
    Sep 8, 2004
    5
    Mildly Entertaining, The fight scenes were not so much fights as they were long and drawn out dances. At no point was I ever on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. On the up side it does make you think, on the down the subtitle at tiems move so quickly you can not read them fast enough to keep up.
  16. JB
    Aug 11, 2006
    6
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon this is not. The overall message is simple enough: that the lens of history does not always capture the full heroics of both sides of a conflict. Nevertheless, the process of telling this story has been made overly complex. The action scenes are generally strong but the narrative can be tedious and melodramatic in a way that passes the limits of that which Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon this is not. The overall message is simple enough: that the lens of history does not always capture the full heroics of both sides of a conflict. Nevertheless, the process of telling this story has been made overly complex. The action scenes are generally strong but the narrative can be tedious and melodramatic in a way that passes the limits of that which is acceptable. I wasn't impressed. Expand
  17. MichaelM.
    Oct 21, 2004
    6
    Everyone is going nuts over this movie, calling it a beautiful action film, and sure contender for Best Picture. I hope not! I don't really like chop suey flicks in the slightest. The only reason I went to go see it was because Quentin Tarantino's name was on it, and you can always expect something good from him. Well, I think the movie was kind of good, but it was very, very, Everyone is going nuts over this movie, calling it a beautiful action film, and sure contender for Best Picture. I hope not! I don't really like chop suey flicks in the slightest. The only reason I went to go see it was because Quentin Tarantino's name was on it, and you can always expect something good from him. Well, I think the movie was kind of good, but it was very, very, very overrated! The special effects were something to brag about, but the plot was hard to follow, and the film took itself too seriously. Unlike, Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2, it wasn't really enjoyable and fun to watch, and unlike Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon it wasn't something new to America. It just wasn't great. I'd recommend waiting for DVD. If you go to see it in the theater, you might get thrown out for laughing too hard at the funny outfits the warriors wear. Expand
  18. CarltheTruthWilliams
    Dec 1, 2004
    5
    Ho Hum. Some cool stuff, but the fighting was kind of boring balet after a while. The characters are just too flat and mythical and annoying with how "cool" they have to be. A score in the 80s is too high and the box office proved this one out. Crouching Tiger is still better.
  19. GaborA.
    Aug 27, 2004
    5
    The setup of the movie is such that not all the events actually happened that the audience sees. Why then are 100 different sword fights necassary. They are so repetative and so many prove to be irrlevent. How many times do i have to hear the most cliche dialogue about the dicipline in martial arts and that "caligraphy and martial arts are very similar?" At least this movie has plot, but The setup of the movie is such that not all the events actually happened that the audience sees. Why then are 100 different sword fights necassary. They are so repetative and so many prove to be irrlevent. How many times do i have to hear the most cliche dialogue about the dicipline in martial arts and that "caligraphy and martial arts are very similar?" At least this movie has plot, but during the last third of the movie they shovel their theme on real hard. The problem is that this theme is ridiculuous. The message is that its better to be dead and at peace than alive and fighting. Yeah, theres a real big loop hole there. Its called alive and at peace, dont try to convince me that 1000 years of war can be justified with some stupid phrase, "All under heaven." Your eyes will love it. Your brain will only have flaws to think about when the credits roll. Expand
  20. Triniman
    Aug 27, 2004
    6
    Hero 3/5 Jet Li plays a famed swordsman who apparently kills off three deadly assassins who were trying to kill the king of Qi, one of seven territories in ancient China. The swordsman is granted a private audience with the king where he recounts his story. This subtitled film is mostly told in flashbacks. Like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero features sword fighters who fly through Hero 3/5 Jet Li plays a famed swordsman who apparently kills off three deadly assassins who were trying to kill the king of Qi, one of seven territories in ancient China. The swordsman is granted a private audience with the king where he recounts his story. This subtitled film is mostly told in flashbacks. Like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero features sword fighters who fly through the air, and defy gravity. The action is such that realism was not a goal here. The massive army of Qi marches on a calligraphy school to kill two of the aforementioned assassins in a spectacular hail of arrows. Released in simultaneously, the arrows emerge from the troops in such huge quantities and so close together that they look like clouds. Some of the action scenes are unintentionally funny and a reminiscent of what we saw in Kill Bill..seriously. Look for the scene for the cup of water in the library. Many scenes are color coordinated. Witness the scene with Moon and Flying Snow. Moon is out to avenge the death of her master, and lover Broken Sword. Flying Snow commands vortexes of yellow leaves that constantly fall like snow to repel Moon. Suddenly, they all turn red at key moment. Several scenes are visually stunning, but they don?t make up for the poor script to make this a must-see film. Director Yimou Zhang fails to draw the audience in, though, with a truly compelling tale. There are moments of apparently deep significance with the relationship between swords and calligraphy, but it merely washes over without being profound. Some people are touting this 2002 release (also on DVD from Amazon.com) as being Oscar material but it is too tedious and dull, in my opinion. I found myself anxiously waiting for it to end, actually. If you liked Ang Lee?s superior Crouching Tiger film, be aware that this film is nowhere near as compelling. Expand
  21. KerryP.
    Aug 31, 2004
    6
    I saw this movie earlier this year before it came to the cinema and ended up in a heated discussion with my friends about the move. The beauty of the movie is unquestionable, but the story and plot is second rate at best. The use of the one color scenes lost its charm after the first two times-- after a while you could predict whats going to come next. The fight scenes become dull and I saw this movie earlier this year before it came to the cinema and ended up in a heated discussion with my friends about the move. The beauty of the movie is unquestionable, but the story and plot is second rate at best. The use of the one color scenes lost its charm after the first two times-- after a while you could predict whats going to come next. The fight scenes become dull and repeditive after a while (as with most movies of the genre). The plot to get the hero to his enemy (the king) is very outlandish, and then finally changing his mind on meeting the king for the good of the nation/society reads like a piece of socialist/communist propaganda. In summary; Hero is very pretty to look at, but does not have much else to offer. Expand
  22. DavidC.
    Sep 12, 2004
    6
    [***SPOILERS***] I don't know why they didn't just make one continuous story instead of making variations on the way "nameless" arrives to assassinate the king. It was kind of confusing. The characters die, then you see them again, then you think, "is this all we're going to see?" It was visually stunning, which is the only reason I'm not giving this a lower mark!!!! [***SPOILERS***] I don't know why they didn't just make one continuous story instead of making variations on the way "nameless" arrives to assassinate the king. It was kind of confusing. The characters die, then you see them again, then you think, "is this all we're going to see?" It was visually stunning, which is the only reason I'm not giving this a lower mark!!!! And the meaning behind it is fitting for our time. Expand
  23. EmmanuelB
    Sep 13, 2004
    5
    Because I despise investing two hours of my life and 8-10 dollars of my hard earned money to a bad movie; I am logically encouraged to read the hype, er, movie critic review prior to viewing a movie. There was a LOT of hype about this movie. That was already a bad sign. The reviews from the nonprofessional movie buffs, like the guys here, are whom I primarily listen to. I throw out the Because I despise investing two hours of my life and 8-10 dollars of my hard earned money to a bad movie; I am logically encouraged to read the hype, er, movie critic review prior to viewing a movie. There was a LOT of hype about this movie. That was already a bad sign. The reviews from the nonprofessional movie buffs, like the guys here, are whom I primarily listen to. I throw out the nines and tens as well as the ones and zeroes. Every movie review website I visited for corroboration, I kept seeing the word cinematography. Like when was that a criterion for watching a movie? Well after this movie, it will. You guys were right, this was an assemble of the most amazing visuals, this over thirty year old man have seen in his illustrious movie watching life. I predict an award for this movie for that one element. The story sucked. The fight scenes sucked to the point were we were laughing out loud but not on purpose. It was like watching the best music video ever made. Again, I despise hype, and would tell you to take this review with a grain of salt. However, when so many different movie goers say the visuals are amazing, the visuals are amazing! See this movie on the big screen. I really believe if you love movies, and don't get to see this on the big screen, you have been watching movies in vain. Expand
  24. jasperh.
    May 25, 2005
    6
    The critics are full of [excrement]. this movie is largely superficial. i appreciate the art, but the story is lifeless. i read a comment on imdb referring to this movie as "postcards from china," which seems fitting. i believe it is worth watching, but one should be forgiven for finding it boring. no way in hell was this better than crouching tiger. completely overrated.
  25. Feb 14, 2015
    6
    Hero has a solid story, with a very good format of how it unfolds. However, many of the later fights simply last too long and get in the way of a better flow in the plot.
  26. Mar 31, 2016
    6
    Jet Li, Tony Leung, Donnie Yen, and Maggie Cheung team up in Zhang Yimou's fancifully endearing tribute to the mythical kennels hidden within Chinese history. "Hero's" narrative might be hard to follow at times, but its beautifully choreographed fight scenes sure aren't. Yimou's brilliant use of color and stylized photography guides the audience towards an easier shot at sitting back andJet Li, Tony Leung, Donnie Yen, and Maggie Cheung team up in Zhang Yimou's fancifully endearing tribute to the mythical kennels hidden within Chinese history. "Hero's" narrative might be hard to follow at times, but its beautifully choreographed fight scenes sure aren't. Yimou's brilliant use of color and stylized photography guides the audience towards an easier shot at sitting back and enjoying this ride for what it is - pure entertainment. Expand
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 42
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 42
  3. Negative: 0 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Nov 4, 2015
    80
    Here is a film where every frame feels individually designed, with saturated colour and symmetry reflecting the texture and natural wonder of the environment.
  2. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Nov 4, 2015
    88
    Hero is elliptical, primal, radically disjointed, and female-empowering. Everything a wu xia should beā€¦and then som
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Nov 4, 2015
    100
    It's a story about storytelling, with differing versions of events in which people die by the sword. Filled with Yimou's characteristic symbolism and zest for striking colors, it's a fictional account of the unification of China.