The film, “Hero”, is an innovative chronicle and is set in 3rd Century China – a time when it was split into seven warring states. It was directed by Zhang Yimou, and filmed in the year 2002, which included Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, and Donnie Yen, as assassins who are also the main characters. Zhang Yimou was nominated three times “Best Foreign Film” and also won several other awards such as the “Gold Lion” and “Silver Lion”, while the film itself was nominated twice for the “2004 Cosmique Movie Awards”.
The director infused “blazing action with emotional death” and blended “personal drama with epic story telling” into the film, including love, vengeance and fearlessness, all packed into an epic storyline. With spectacular visual and audible effects, “Hero” possesses a blend of awe-inspiring scenery, inexplicable intriguing twists and mind-blowing fight scenes, and incorporates a series of flashbacks which accentuate the story of how one man heroically defeated three assassins who sought to murder the most powerful warlord in pre-unified China, who would unite all 3rd Century China’s seven states into one great country, “Our Land”.
The main characters in the film were Nameless (Jet Li), Broken Sword (Tony Leung), Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung), Sky (Donnie Yen), Moon (Zhang Ziyi), and the future emperor (Chen Daoming). Nameless is a silent, formidable fighter who had been perfecting his swordsman ship for ten years, since his family brutally murdered after his birth. He had a thrilling fast-paced fight with Sky, in which half of it was a furious battle in their minds. Broken Sword is the lover of the last assassin, Flying Snow.
The couple made a massive attack against the Kingdom of Qin, slaughtering many soldiers, and soon they had got to the King. Broken Sword then went on to attack the King, and perceptibly the King was no match for him, but as they started fighting Broken Sword had a change of heart and left the King. Flying Snow would never forgive him. The Martial Arts genre derived in Eastern Asia by actors such as Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, and is usually an action-packed genre including hand-to-hand combat and using swords and spears and other melee weapons.
Actors in this genre are expected to use fast-paced, various types of martial arts like Judo and Karate, although “Hero” is not even vaguely realistic by defying the laws of physics, such as when Nameless and Broken Sword are fighting above a lake, all they do to keep sustained in the air is to dip the tip of their swords into the water, and that aspect makes “Hero” unique.
Another rare attribute of “Hero” is that during each flashback, the colour themes of the scenes vary according to the narrator and the level of honesty, for example, the director used red with a golden-yellow background, representing sexual jealousy as Moon and Flying Snow fought each other, both wearing varying shades of crimson robes. Another example is when the narrator is telling the truth, both the scene and the actors are covered in various shades of white, portraying purity and cleanliness.
Since the film, “Hero”, was originally filmed in Chinese, the target audience would have been Chinese martial arts fans. It fits into two genres: martial-art action and romantic genre. That is because of the amount of martial-art fight and emotional scenes. The director uses many different types of film techniques during the making of “Hero”. Two are mentioned above; the use of unrealistic physics during combat, and the mixture of different colours representing the levels of honesty.