Hero

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It’s time for a Chinese film which depicts the assassination attempt on Qin’s King from way back when. I definitely don’t know much about this time period so it’s pretty neat to learn more about it. We also get a lot of fight scenes along the way and it’s pretty stylized which is fun. I also haven’t watched a lot of subbed live action films either so that was certainly different. It’s a pretty fun film and the movie did a good job of making each character feel like a threat.

The film starts off with our nameless protagonist being ushered into the throne room of the King. He never gets a name which should remind you of the classic video game protagonists. The King asks him how the cop ended up defeating the world’s 3 greatest assassins who has even conquered the army and eluded all attempts to defeat them. This leads to the protagonist giving 3 stories where he explains how he foiled each one. The first story has him go up against Long Sky. Long Sky’s gimmick is that he’s the world’s greatest swordsman and simply cannot be defeated. The hero was able to defeat him through pure technique as music played in the background. The King is skeptical, but listens further.

The second story had him go to the final 2 assassins, Flying Snow and Broken Sword. He brought up past romances and controversy to psyche them out so he could defeat them with ease. It was a foolproof strategy apparently and everything went perfectly. The stories were all pretty realistic, but the film has a big plot twist as the King debunks all of the stories and explains that the 3 assassins were actually in cahoots about murdering him. The main character confirms this and then decides not to murder the King because the story has also moved him. The King vows to help unite the country even if he has to be evil to do so. It’s a very mixed message and I wasn’t thrilled about the ending. Of course, it’s not as if there is much the film can do about the ending since it’s based on a true story.

So, I definitely didn’t like the ending. Let me just put that out there. The other assassins let the main character murder them so he could get close to the King through their convoluted plan and it was successful. They gave their lives so the country could be saved by the dictator and then the guy decided not to go through with it. It’s rather tragic if you ask me. That wasn’t satisfying.

On the positives side, the fight scenes were pretty good. Maybe there were too many moments of the characters just flying around and ignoring physics as I preferred the actual swordplay more. The first fight is the best example of how grounded swordsmanship is the best. At least in this movie it was the most engaging. Still, the aerial fights will remind you of Naruto as the characters fly with each jump and still manage to fight. The battle of heroines was interesting with this even if the fight was very lopsided. In general, the film just had a lot of action and that was fun to see.

The romance wasn’t handled quite as well. Of course, this was fake in the end as it was part of the fake story, but it was still pretty rough on the characters. Rebounding just to make others jealous is always a rather petty strategy and didn’t make any of the characters look good. Since it’s fake though, it won’t count against them. The cast was actually pretty solid with all of the characters being rather likable. Even the King was pretty solid as he was apparently quite intelligent since he saw through the plan. It’s good to see a king who is competent for once, even if he noticed a little too late to save himself. That’s how it goes sometimes.

The film had fun with the visuals and they were handled well. There were subtle changes in the attire for the characters based on who was telling the story and where they were. The film took advantage of the cherry blossoms at different moments to have the characters blend in with them. Sometimes everything would be the same color which was interesting. It was nice to see and you can tell that it was important to the film to get all of the colors on point. There wasn’t much of a soundtrack to go alongside it at least for me, but I’m sure they also put effort into that part. The visuals were just more impressive since I’m not really into soft music.

Overall, Hero was a good film. I don’t know how accurate it was to the real life events. I suspect it was a little exaggerated, but I could certainly see the general plot running pretty close to it. Maybe the characters didn’t dodge thousands of arrows with ease or block them all with 1 sword, but I could see 3 assassins deciding to die on purpose so that a cop could get inside and take out the King. Whether the assassin decided to fail on purpose or he was foiled is another story entirely. Still, I’d recommend checking this film out. It maybe takes itself a little too seriously at times like when the characters live the whole battle in their heads before fighting or listen to the music first to get in the mood, but the exaggeration may be the point. It’s a pretty good way to learn about the past without going to a complete documentary. Don’t get me wrong, Documentaries can actually be quite interesting and engaging, but watching a film version can typically be even more so. It depends on your preference I suppose and there can be bad movie adaptions and bad documentaries. It’s a case by case basis.

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