6 out of 10


Subtitled Martial Arts Fest

"Hero" poses the fundamental choice of politics: live under the unifying peace of a brutal dictator or endure the bloody struggle of freedom!

Set in the same time period as "Arthur" of 2000 years ago, the movie "Hero" from China, a land on the other side of the world from England, tells exactly the opposite story of King Arthur and from entirely the opposite moral perspective and with exactly the opposite ending. At this time, China is not one country, but five kingdoms until the King of Qin (Daoming Chen) raises an army of deadly archers that no-one can defeat with the intent to conquer all before him. With his armies marching to inevitable victory, he becomes well aware that only assassination can stop him, until "Nameless" (Jet Li) is brought before him. Nameless is supposed to have liquidated the three top assassins who have been trying to kill him, yet he is no more than a lowly provincial official and Broken Sword (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung) and Sky (Donnie Yen) have managed to overcome the entire royal guard of several hundred in broad daylight on at least one occasion before. Is Nameless a brilliant and trustworthy man, or is there more to this?

Almost the entire film consists of the conversation between the two as the King examines the evidence to establish the truth upon which his own life will depend. In a sense, the film resembles an Agatha Christie story as the audience are shown a whole range of interpretations of what initially seem to be simple facts with the stories of each character told in flashbacks and flashbacks within flashbacks. With each narration in a colour coded tint to aid the complexity of the storyline, Hero has the most amazing cinematography that I have ever seen, and was shot amongst the splendour of China's magnificent landscape, making it a truly visually beautiful picture to see.

Backed by a powerful supporting cast, including Ziyi Zhang as Moon, Broken Sword's loyal intern, it packs a powerful punch as a story of tragedy and heroism. Despite this, it's breathtaking beauty and it's faultless display of martial arts, it is sadly an object lesson of why China and the West are in inevitable clash. Whilst our approach to an aggressor, as shown in "Arthur" is basically that of the Churchillian stance: "fight them on the beaches, and never surrender", China's is one of "never mind the quality, feel the width", regarding that any level of extremism is worth the peace that only unity can bring. As such, Hero remains well cloaked propaganda by a beleagued Chinese leadership, trying to justify why occupation of Tibet, Hong Kong and ultimately Taiwan is essential for it's people...and prove why black is white to the outside world.

Fabulously beautiful and top quality Commie propaganda

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett