I saw Quentin Tarantino presents Jet Li in Yimou Zhang's "Hero" (aka Ying xiong) (trailer). The director is one of the fantastic folks coming out of Beijing, and you couldn't ask for a better cast. Alas, the film didn't work for me nearly as well as the other recent art-fu hit, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I prefer Zhang's other excellent films (Raise the Red Lantern, Ju Dou, To Live).
The best thing about Hero is the formal use of colour and setting. It's sort of like The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover with martial arts. But this same formalism drains the film of any passion or joy, it's just one set piece after another. Even the fight choreography is dull.

The story is tiresome too; the Rashomon thing is only clever when the different views of the story reveal something about the character telling them. And the conclusion, with the Noble Hero sacrificing himself for the good of The State, is too creepy for me.

Still, it's a good movie, worth your time to see.

  2004-09-08 15:14 Z