Yo Ho, WeRCatz here!

In college, a friend of mine was excited after seeing a kung fu movie he saw on DVD. It was called Hero and it stars Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Chen Daoming, and Zhang Ziyi. I borrowed the movie to see for myself.

The film kicked ass. There was history behind the story, the drama between certain characters, the action was superb and the actor’s performances were great.

Twenty years later, it still kicks ass. I remember that I bought a copy of the film myself at SDCC in 2002. In 2004, I was watching Kill Bill Vol. 2 in the theatre and saw a trailer for Hero being presented by Quentin Tarantino. I wanted to burst out that the trailer ruined the ending for the American audience at the time, but only a few people heard my comment as I was trying to silence myself. At the 2004 edition of SDCC, the movie in its original presentation was being played at the booth and I was bursting with laughter with the owner of the booth because we knew Hero and the general public didn’t understand that copies of the film can be bought right there!

Hero tells the tale of Nameless (Li), a prefect from the kingdom of Qin who is rewarded riches and is within 10 paces from the King of Qin. The King tells Nameless about how two assassins Broken Sword and Flying Snow (Leung and Cheung respectively) broke through 3000 troops to almost killing him, only for Sword to spare him. Nameless is outed as an assassin but is now in doubt as to let the King conquer the other kingdoms of the land. Eventually, the Warring States period in Chinese history ends in 221 BCE with the King of Qin becoming Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China; China comes from the name Qin.

Loosely based on the real-life assassination attempt of Jing Ke against the King of Qin in 227 BCE, Hero is a masterpiece and shows that you don’t need merciless violence and oversaturated love stories to showcase an important part of ancient history. Just show everything in a practical way (many extras, little CGI, a great script, and history) and take it all for what it is: a great film that shows that the world is ready to overtake Hollywood.