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Hero Review

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  • Hero Review

    Let's get something straight right off the bat: I don't understand Asian culture. Being the uncouth American slob that I am, I just can't grasp some of the concepts these people deal with on a daily basis. I've seen numerous sub-titled and dubbed Kung-Fu movies and I'e always felt something was lost in the translation. It's almost as if Japanesse and Chinesse works on a completely separate level than English/latin languages.

    All the main characters tend to be God's of unarmed and armed combat. They fly through trees, get stabbed and continue fighting, and kill scores of regular soldiers like it's nothing. John Wayne and Arnold have dick-all on these people when it comes to sheer ludicrous abilities.

    These are livable if the action is in good standing. Hero had nothing even worth mentioning in a fight scene. "LET'S FIGHT WITH OUR MINDS!!!!" (You WISH I was making that line up).

    Synopsis: This movie sucked hard. It was even worse than this one old Jet-Li movie I saw back in the day where he uses a baby as a weapon (ball/chain style) and this cybernetic type guy drives around in a little car then jumps out to kung-pow people.

    It's worse than Rikki-O, which happens to be the only movie I've ever seen where a dog gets karate kicked in half for absolutely no reason.

    If you we expecting non-stop edged weapon madness a la Crouching Tiger or Iron Monkey: you are in for a sad sad surprise. The movie plays out like a bad "Clue" rip=off except the flash-backs focus on the same characters. "No he died, no they didn't. Wait, yes they did. My Kung-Fu is strong!"

    The fight scenes were bland and underpowered. I mean, damn, we had Jet-Li, the hot little girl from Crouching Tiger and the Shadow Kick Master from Iron Monkey. Yet all we get is a whole bunch of dribble about "Should we assasinate the king? Yes.. no! I'll stab you, then you stab me. Wait, what just happened?"

    This movie was nothing but horrible imagry, a weak plot, underpowered fight scenes, and the most gut wrenching dialog. The only up side: the musical score was beautiful and I will purchase the CD.

    Conclusion: Do not pay to see this movie! I wouldn't even rent it. Want my advice if you're truely intent on seeing it? Find someone you don't like and have them rent/buy it for you.

  • #2
    Re: Hero Review

    A friend of mine just visited recently from Singapore and Hero was one of the movies he brought with him, shortly before it was released here in the states. I didn't think it sucked nearly as bad as you did, but there is one main problem:

    The actual movie is nothing like the advertisements.

    This is because the movie has much less fighting then it seems like it would, and it's not even remotely similar to the Gladiator-esque, one-man-defies-the-emperor plot the commercials say it is. In fact, I hadn't seen the commercials before I saw the movie, and when I saw one I thought, "What the hell? That's not the movie at all!"

    So, if you're looking for a "Once Upon A Time in China" or something, this isn't it. It is, however, a visually rich film that jerks violently from the mundane to the absolutely awesome. You'll sit there thinking, "Oh whatever, that's dumb or so-and-so wouldn't do that, or just please can we move the story along here," when suddenly they'll hit some scene that is just totally gorgeous. But these scenes are really the only good part about the movie.

    This isn't really a spolier so I'll just say it: I loved the color scheme to go along with each "section". I have so many images in my head from that movie.

    Plus, even though she's barely in it, any movie with Zhang Ziyi is worth sitting through. Seriously. I'm going to marry her. And now I know how to pronounce her name too.
    [volun]

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    • #3
      Re: Hero Review

      I've *ahem* obtained the movie through a source - have had it for about 2 mo. actually.

      This is not a kung-fu movie. The focus is not on the fighting. The fighting is just a means by which part of the plot gets executed.

      It's like "O Brother" -- the movie isn't a musical, but yet - in a very justified and natural manner - the lead characters find themselves playing and singing music. They don't do it at random or for no reason - it fits seamlessly with the plot, with the character motives, and with the overall setting of the film.

      In the same way, "Hero's" characters aren't in the film to fight, nor do they do it for ludicrous reasons or at bizarre times. They fight at the times and for the reasons that are absolutely natural to the character and within the setting of the story.


      That being said - H-Hour is right in that the plot has *nothing* to do with the way they've stated it in the commercials. In fact, go see the movie but forget everything they told you in the commercials / trailers. Mute the sound. Then you'll appreciate the movie even more.

      *SLIGHT SPOILERS IN NEXT PARAGRAPH* Relates to movie structure.

      The plot itself (if I remember right) is outlined according to a Chinese storytelling form - thus the need for several sections during which the scenes are retold by different people showing their understanding of the events. You have to realize this was intentional and fully in keeping with the plot development. If you saw the same people get killed three times in a row and then get told they don't really die - I can see how you'd be confused. It'd be like watching "Memento" and not know the storyline is backwards - my father-in-law watched it without knowing this and hated the movie he was so confused.

      The plot iteself is very simple - given that you understand the story method. The imagry is absolutely beautiful. And yes, they are kung-fu badasses and able to fly and do all sorts of stuff - but it's an exaggeration meant to heighten our experience of their performance - sort of the way we always remember the past nostalgically - it used to be better than it is.

      In short - I think Fenix expected a "chop-suey" movie with lots of good kung-fu wire work and a "Schwarzenegger" plot where the object is to kill lots of people. "Hero" ain't it. "Hero" is drama first, fighting third. I think if his expectations had been different he would have enjoyed it a lot more.

      Go see it - I think it'd be worth it.
      Former TGNS admin until WoW blinded me with flashy lights.

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      • #4
        Re: Hero Review

        Originally posted by Stupid
        This is not a kung-fu movie. The focus is not on the fighting. The fighting is just a means by which part of the plot gets executed.

        It's like "O Brother" -- the movie isn't a musical, but yet - in a very justified and natural manner - the lead characters find themselves playing and singing music. They don't do it at random or for no reason - it fits seamlessly with the plot, with the character motives, and with the overall setting of the film.

        In the same way, "Hero's" characters aren't in the film to fight, nor do they do it for ludicrous reasons or at bizarre times. They fight at the times and for the reasons that are absolutely natural to the character and within the setting of the story.
        You mean it's not just another stupid Jet Li movie? This one actually has a story and actors? I might actually go see it...

        I'm so sick of movies that are dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. Movies that are nothing but exciting action scenes. Nothing to stimulate your mind at all, just adrenal stimulation. Maybe the occasional pretty girl to provide some other stimulation as well...


        America: becoming dumber one movie at a time.
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        • #5
          Re: Hero Review

          This is not an American movie at all. It does stimulate you - but intellectually and visually. It's poetry.
          Former TGNS admin until WoW blinded me with flashy lights.

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          • #6
            Re: Hero Review

            Saw it over a year ago (if my memory serves me correct). Movie gets my thumbs up. Its not a typical action flick, which is why I think its worth seeing.


            I love gaming, mmmmmmmm

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            • #7
              Re: Hero Review

              Originally posted by Stupid
              In short - I think Fenix expected a "chop-suey" movie with lots of good kung-fu wire work and a "Schwarzenegger" plot where the object is to kill lots of people. "Hero" ain't it. "Hero" is drama first, fighting third. I think if his expectations had been different he would have enjoyed it a lot more.
              Negative. I expected something worth actually watching.

              First off the trailers flat-out mislead potential viewers. This isn't always a bad thing (like Matrix), but the themes in this movie are being overrated. The scenes were drawn out to long and the story just didn't play well at all.

              The drama in Hero was pathetic. I didn't give a damn when anyone actually died. Chalk this up to a director trying to ram a lesson down your throat when there isn't actually one that's worth listening to.

              Crouching Tiger managed to have a first-rate story, along with beautiful action scenes. It's latent themes hit you hard and were blended into the movie expertly. Hero just comes right out and tells you what you're supposed to get from the movie. I don't respect that.

              But then again, in it's original Chinesse it probably had some deep emotional message that explained the laws of the universe and all we get is crap like "Our Land."

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              • #8
                Re: Hero Review

                This went from being a comment on a comment, to my take on it.. so some of it might not make any sense at first (like my posts do anyway :P )

                I watched the original Mandarin Hero (got the original one on DVD... god, thank you for all that is ebay) and I liked it, I liked it a lot. I recently... "saw" the American version and I thought differently of the movie.... it well... kinda sucked... I still got the same thing from the movie, but the original Mandarin version you really had to watch the movie to get it. The American version just, like Fenix said, gave you the entire base of the movie. The American version pretty much said "this is what this movie is about, and this is what you should be getting from it".. how lame is that?

                Dave. This is not another "stoopid" Jet Li movie (I actually like Jet Li's movies, but I do know what you mean but your comment). I suggest searching ebay or an importer for the original Mandarin version. Screw the American version, it doesnt do the film justice.

                As for the film itself. I had to watch it twice (original version) just to really get a take on the movie. The first time I watched as the commercials played it, a pretty kung fu movie. I was highly disappoint by it. The fighting, be it good, wasnt all that impressive. Its all stuff that Jet Li and other movies (Crouching Tiger) have done before. So that didnt impress me. I watched it again, this time from a drama stand point and I rather enjoyed the movie. In fact, it went from an "ok" Kung Fu movie, to a great movie in general. I still think the Kung Fu in it is alright, again its stuff I have seen before, but the Kung Fu really didnt mean anything in it. It was all about the story and how it played out. I rather enjoyed watching the same story unfold, but through the eyes of a couple of different people. It was a unique take on it, and something I rather enjoyed. The "mind fighting" was awesome. It was about the only real fighting scene I rewinded and watched again (1) because it was a great fight scene and 2) because its the Jet Li\Donnie Yen rematch from Once Upon A Time in China II). If you understand the way the movie is meant to be, a drama not a fighter, then you cant hate this movie. Its a beautifully done movie. I do plan on buying the DVD, but only if it comes in the original Mandarin also.

                I suggest that if anybody is interested in this movie. Dont, I will repeat DONT! watch the American version. Its crap. Find the original Mandarin version (either buy the HK DVD or find a place to... umm... "get it"). Its a good movie, just dont listen to the trailers released for it. If you go by what the trailers are telling you (a beautiful action\Kung Fu movie) you will be disappointed.


                FYI: For those who dont know. Its Mandarin.. not Chinesse. I have had to correct a lot of people on it so its no biggie... just dont do it again or I will be forced to mind fight you.

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                • #9
                  Re: Hero Review

                  I haven't seen it yet, but it is my understanding from those that have seen it and researched its creation that the movie is all about the visual styling. It's a movie for direction and production, not for plot or action. I'm going to go in with a What Dreams May Come mindset. (And I am still going to kill everyone that convinced me to see that horrible horrible horrible beautiful gorgeous symbolic horrible stupid movie. I got a migraine from watching it because I started crying uncontrollably 5 minutes in and couldn't stop until after the credits were halfway done. It was still visually very pretty and symbolic, if a trifle blurry.)

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                  • #10
                    Re: Hero Review

                    Originally posted by _Ender_
                    FYI: For those who dont know. Its Mandarin.. not Chinesse. I have had to correct a lot of people on it so its no biggie... just dont do it again or I will be forced to mind fight you.
                    What do you mean "Mandarin, not Chinese"? Isn't one a subset of the other?
                    Become a supporting member!
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                    • #11
                      Re: Hero Review

                      Originally posted by CingularDuality
                      What do you mean "Mandarin, not Chinese"? Isn't one a subset of the other?
                      Chinese is written

                      Mandarin is spoke

                      There is Cantonese which is used in Guangdong (where Guangzhou/Canton is the capital) and Guangxi provinces and most of the overseas Chinese communities in Autralia, Europe, North America and other parts of the world. But Mandarin speaking Chinese people are increasing over the years.

                      Now Mandarin is used on Mainland China and Taiwan. Its used in most of the schools, its also used in TV shows and Movies. Its also one of the 5 official UN languages. Hong Kong schools are now switching to Mandarin only (they used to be Cantonese).

                      Whats funny is, people who know Mandarin can communicate to somebody who knows Cantonese by writing to them. See, the written form (Chinese) was formed around 221BC by emperor Qing Shihuan. There might be some problems with translation because the Cantonese use different expressions in their daily oral Cantonese.

                      Both Cantonese and Mandarin are tonal Languages (different tones have different meanings). Mandarin uses four tones where Cantonese uses more then six, they also have different vowels and consonants too.

                      If you're going to learn any of these two languages. Mandarin would be the best. Its not only easy, but more people will be able to understand you.


                      That is your language lesion for today.

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