Hero represents Chinese director Zhang Yimou's first foray into the martial arts/action genre. While there are aspects of the film that recall Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (the movie that brought "wire-fu" Asian cinema to mainstream Western audiences), such a comparison is in many ways too facile. In fact, Hero actually has more in common with the work of Japanese master director Akira Kurosawa than with Crouching Tiger. This is an amazingly stylish and vivid motion picture, where images move the story forward more forcefully than the traditional methods of exposition, dialogue, and character development. If there's a drawback, it's that the plot is trite. Hero is an exemplary example of visual poetry. The narrative is clearly of secondary concern.
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