By Michelle Kung
Updated December 03, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

Steeped in rich, sumptuous colors and set to poignant violin solos by Itzhak Perlman, director Zhang Yimou’s exquisite martial-arts fable Hero is a valentine to the senses. Though the film relies too heavily on flashbacks to flesh out the history of Li’s vengeance-seeking swordsman, Zhang’s stylized takes on traditional fight sequences (his protagonists battle each other mentally) are pure visceral delights. EXTRAS An illuminative making-of featurette underscores Zhang’s dedication to achieving the perfect shot: To specifically capture the glass-like tranquillity of a lake upon which Li and Leung flit like dragonflies, he insisted on filming only between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon for nearly three straight weeks. Also included are animated storyboards that parallel simultaneously unfurling scenes (right down to the color of each actor’s costume and the angle of their swords), and a cursorily shot ”conversation” between Li and Quentin Tarantino that quickly devolves into mutual pandering.

Hero (Movie - 2004)

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 99 minutes
  • Zhang Yimou