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Hero is two-time Academy Award nominee Zhang Yimou's directorial attempt at exploring the concept of a Chinese hero. During the peak of their Warring States period, China was divided into seven kingdoms all fighting for supremacy. Most determined to dominate China was the kingdom of Qin, whose king (Chen Daoming) was wholly obsessed with becoming the first emperor of China. Though he was an assassination target for many, none of his would-be killers inspired as much fear as the legendary assassins Broken Sword (Tony Leung), Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung), and Sky (Donnie Yen). In hopes of… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"As they move through the martial-arts sequences, the performers leave the impression that the laws of gravity are subject to amendment. The rules of love and war -- all's fair -- are, Hero makes clear, immutable."
‑ Joanne Kaufman, Wall Street Journal
"The result is both thrilling and thoughtful, offering imaginative action sequences as it considers questions of loyalty and the individual's role in history."
‑ Hank Sartin, Chicago Reader
"What makes Hero special is that it has so much more going for it than just the superb fight sequences. There are a satisfyingly complex plot, passionate romance, cool special effects and strong performances."
‑ Leah Rozen, People Magazine
"Intoxicatingly beautiful, structurally enigmatic and decidedly brief."
‑ Mike Goodridge, Screen International
"When we are not left agog by the pristine production design and costuming, we marvel at the various staged conflicts, each one bringing a new level of proficiency and polish to an already overripe genre."
‑ Bill Gibron, PopMatters
"The result is not so much a historical epic as a kind of highly determined ballet: dreamy with bloodless violence, relying less on shades of character than on magnificence of gesture."
‑ Anthony Lane, New Yorker
"As a technical achievement, Hero finds Zhang at the height of his powers, effortlessly expanding into complex genre filmmaking without losing his command. But in light of his earlier work, the film continues a sharp decline in urgency."
‑ Scott Tobias, AV Club
"Sumptuous and breath-catching, Hero blends the elegance of fine visual art with the more familiar cinematic jollies of attractive people engaged in crunching punch-ups."
‑ , Total Film
"Gorgeous martial arts movie for older kids."
‑ Liz Perle, Common Sense Media
"A visually stunning martial arts epic in the wuxia tradition."
‑ Joe Lozito, Big Picture Big Sound
"The austerity of Hero makes you realize how cluttered other action movies are."
‑ David Edelstein, Slate
"Dishes up some of the most extravagant doodling in cinema."
‑ , Time Out
"Zhang Yimou's Hero is a true martial arts epic -- a spectacle of movement, color and sound that will leave you awe-struck."
‑ Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey, Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
"Zhang weaves a complex and interesting story but the ultimate strength of Hero is its poetic beauty."
‑ Ryan Cracknell, Movie Views
"Without the clarity of story, we begin to lose connection with the martial action, and it starts to seem repetitive."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
More reviews for Hero on Rotten Tomatoes

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