Talk:Hero (2002 film)

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Not quite sure how to fit this in but iirc itsak perlman plays the gorgeous and haunting violin. If I'm right he should get the credit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wblakesx (talkcontribs) 22:41, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

To Say This Film is Advocating Authoritarianism is A Big Misunderstanding[edit]

By western culture. What Zhang wants to discuss in this film is the concept of "Xia", which is a unique concept in Chinese culture. "Xia" refers to people who are powerful (normally by strict martial arts training) and defiant against the ruling class. A "Xia" is normally an outlaw, and always uses his / her great power to help people, especially by punishing corruptions and reinstalling social justice. The concept of "Xia" is unique because many researchers believe it is an opposite by-product of the long authoritarian tradition in China and other east asian cultures. The point of film is not whether Jet Li killed the emperor. Instead, it is that 1) he always behave on his own. he doesn't care what the emperor thinks or you western people think; he makes decision based on his understanding of his people (TianXia); 2) he proves he has the power to kill the emperor if he wants. He doesn't care about his own life, but he warns the rulers that they cannot do whatever they want because otherwise there are "Xia"s out there and one day another "Xia" can come to claim his head. That's what a "Xia" means to Chinese culture. Sadly, few Westerners understand. Sweeper77 (talk) 19:53, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Zorro, Robin Wood, Guillaume Tell, Hercules... and hundreds of others westerners (real or not) fit your description of "Xia", there's nothing unique on it besides the name, concept however is known since the beginning of times. Strumf (talk) 13:04, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

I agree that the intent of the movie was not to advocate authoritarianism or the current chinese way. Zhang has a long history of critiquing or bringing into question much of chinese tradition. Another person who sees Hero and another film closer to intent..

Gyuen (talk) 12:51, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

"Chinese" values[edit]

I removed this:

"However, Chinese viewers do not feel any discomfort over this ideological issue, due to a long formed historical and cultural imperative indicating that China must be unified. Chinese rulers in different periods have always attempted to unify the country, as they consider that political separation can only be temporary.[citation needed]"

The writer is ignoring the views of the Chinese viewers who do not agree with PRC propaganda.

I re-added the above quote while adding "many" before Chinese viewers. Chinese viewers should obviously not be treated as a monolithic category, but it is also undeniable that many Chinese viewers would not have thought twice about endorsing the message of a unified China. To call the goal of a unified China "PRC propaganda" is to ignore over 2000 years of Chinese history. It is undeniable that throughout history Emperors almost always viewed a divided China as a temporary situation that needed to be overcome. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:35, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

How is Quentin Tarantino associated with this movie?[edit]

How is Quentin Tarantino associated with this movie? In the ads I see here, it's supposedly a "Quentin Tarantino film".

Does it means he brought this film to the US? I don't think he had any part in the production of this film. He may own the distribution right in the US. Just a guess. Kowloonese
It seems from the discussion on the IMDB forum that Quentin is credited as the film's "Presenter" which is explained in the IMDB glossary. So he either did voice-over (which I don't remember happening, at least not Quentin Tarantino doing voice-over) or was an executive producer for one or both of the releases. Thames
Yeah, it just means that one of his companies was responsible for persuading people to release it in America and perhaps supplying some finances for promotion and whatnot. When a famous director does this, they'll often put his name on the publicity because they think it will sell more tickets; all the Kill Bill fans will go "Oh, great something QT is involved with which I ordinarily wouldn't have thought about going to". Seems like it worked, too. The Singing Badger 21:14, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Probably a throwback to QT's attempted series of Asian imports. Around a decade ago, Rolling Thunder was supposed to release a whole series of Asian art films in America. In fact, if you go to the article on Chungking Express you can see the obnoxious packaging that Tarantino put on that release. I dunno how many movies were actually released this way, but on CE you also get didactic monologues from Tarantino before and after the film talking about why he thinks it's important for Americans to see it. Glad no one tried to do this to Hero... On the one hand it's great that QT brought CE to America, but on the other hand, Quentin Tarantino what made you so great you cocky bastard why don't you just shut up. --Chinasaur

How's the US military get involved/support Hollywood film makers?[edit]

I have never heard any such claim except for here and unless something is cited proving that the US military does indeed, get involved/support producers then I feel this should be deleted.

Edit: I guess it does happen, my friend showed me about the Pentagon's 'approval' of the Black Hawk Down script. I guess I was just gullible enough to believe that our military supported the freedom of expression clause in the US Constitution.

Most Hollywood movies about the military are made with support of the Pentagon. The Pentagon knows the power these movies have they are willing to provide all kinds of support, equipment etc. Often the plots of movies are slightly edited at the request of the Pentagon to get the support and important services from the Pentagon. So Hollywood almost exclusively makes pro-Pentagon movies.
Nevertheless, the U.S. does not overtly censor American media. In fact, the MPAA is not even a licensed, government-approved body. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:48, 10 March 2007 (UTC).

removed sentence about film beeing not as succesful as the creator thought[edit]

since hero set "a record as the highest-grossing opening-weekend foreign language film in the United States" I don't believe you can say that it "failed to be as successful as its makers hoped" I removed the latter passage since it is not based by facts and can't be validated...

Sirana 21:31, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

The statement "the film failed to be as successful as its makers hoped, in part due to criticism overseas" is contradicted by:
"Hero opened on 2,031 North American screens uncut and subtitled. It debuted at #1, grossing US $18,004,319 ($8,864 per screen) in its opening weekend. The total was the second highest opening weekend ever for a foreign language film. Its US $53,710,019 North American box office gross makes it the fourth highest-grossing foreign language film in North American box office history.
"The total worldwide box office gross is US $177,394,432."
Critical opinions aside (including my own), clearly the film did very, VERY well at the box office in and out of China -- well enough that "its makers" (particularly, Zhang Yimou) would go on to do two more wuxia: House of Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower.
The article should be further edited to remove the obvious contradiction. Darnold01 22:51, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
For nearly two years this film has been regarded as a failure by Chinese media mainly because it was unable to reach North American market. However,
the box office success later turned things around dramatically. 09:02, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

"Chess House" and Go[edit]

The section "Cross-cultural translations" has this sentence: Also, near the beginning of the film, a place where games of Go are clearly being played is called a "chess house".

It certainly didn't look like Go to me; in the movie, large round stones were placed in depressions on a stone table using a fork-like tool. It looks nothing like Go, which uses many small stones placed by hand on interesections of lines on a flat table. Even if it was Go, translation is about making things clear to the foriegn audience, and using "chess house" for a place where people congregate to play a strategy game, even if the game clearly isn't chess, is clearly appropriate. I'm going to remove the sentence soon if nobody objects. - dharmabum 22:01, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

The game they're playing at the "chess" house is called weiqi which is the game Go in Japanese. The forks that they're using isn't really significant, I guess it's to keep the pieces clean because back then the pieces were probably ivory or marble. It is something lost in translation because most Americans aren't going to know what weiqi or go is. I think calling it a chess house as a translation is fine.Kwazyutopia19 03:21, 23 August 2006 (UTC)kwazyutopia19

It was a Chinese version of Chess that was popular with japanese so we use the japanese name go.CHSGHSF 22:50, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

It may, be an older historical version of chinese chess which is depicted in the films, because i am sure the film as it was of such importance (big budget/highest grossing), would not overlook this fundimental thing, anyway the film is quite historically correct for this time period,and back then there were minimalistic, trading and commerce between China and Japan. Wongdai 12:26, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

It's originally a Chinese game. Read the entries in the main Go article and History of go. This game is obviously Weiqi. VanTucky 15:26, 6 April 2007 (UTC)


This article section Political meaning and Cross-cultural translations seems to be politicized to criticize/oppose/defame the Chinese like by saying critics criticize something while not citing the critics that did so. Even the cited wikisource link is a dud. So, I'm moving the two sections into this talk page and a concensus should be reached whether it should be fixed then returned to the article page or deleted from this talk page entirely.

Snippets begins in nowiki:

==Political meaning== {{Unreferenced}} Although inspired in part by the success of films such as ''[[Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon]]'', the film failed to be as successful as its makers hoped, in part due to criticism overseas at a perceived pro-[[totalitarianism|totalitarian]] and pro-[[Chinese reunification]] subtext. Critics also cited as evidence the approval given to the film by the [[Central People's Government|government]] of the [[People's Republic of China]]. These critics argue that the ulterior meaning of the film is the triumph of security and stability over liberty and human rights and that the concept of [[all under heaven]] (translated in the English-subtitled release as "Our Land") is used to justify the incorporation of areas such [[Tibet]] and [[Xinjiang]] within the [[People's Republic of China]] and promote the reunification of [[Taiwan]] with [[China]]. Additionally, the future first Emperor of China is portrayed in a very sympathetic light while for centuries [[Qin Shi Huang]] has been looked upon with scorn as a brutal tyrant by [[Confucianism|Confucian]] scholars. A more standard and much less sympathetic portrait of Qin Shi Huang is found in the 1999 film ''[[The Emperor and the Assassin]]''. While it is true that his rule is often brutal, Qin Shi Huang's reign is now looked upon more objectively by some modern scholars for some effective measures such as unifying the systems for language, weights and measures, currency, and for the construction of a national transport network. In any case, the revisonist portrayal in the film reflects the controversy associated with the historical figure. However, philosophically, the film can be viewed from a different angle; that of [[causality]]. The fact remains that if Qin Shi Huang didn't unify China, there systematically wouldn't be a China. This throws into question the acts of historical events and how people view them in the present; whether the ends justified the means, and can be viewed as a [[fallacy]], hypothesis contrary to fact. The film's director, Zhang Yimou, purportedly withdrew from the [[1999]] [[Cannes Film Festival]] to protest similar criticism [], though some believe that Zhang had other reasons. However, defenders of Zhang Yimou and his film argue that the Chinese government's approval of ''Hero'' is no different from the U.S. military providing support to films such as ''[[Top Gun (film)|Top Gun]]'', in which filmmakers portray U.S. armed forces in a positive light. Others reject entirely that Zhang Yimou had any political motives in making the film. Zhang Yimou himself maintained he has no political intentions whatsoever. [,6737,1375277,00.html] ==Cross-cultural translations== {{Unreferenced}} There has been some criticism of the film for its American-release translation of one of the central ideas in the film, ''[[All under heaven|tiān xià]]'', which literally means "all under heaven." During this time in their history, the Chinese people held the opinion (as did many before and after—see e.g. [[omphalos]] and [[axis mundi]]) that they were the very center of the universe; indeed, the Chinese term for China is ''Zhōngguó'', literally meaning "middle-country" or perhaps more accurately "central kingdom" (though originally conceived as "the country between [[heaven]] and [[hell]]", much like Germanic [[Midgard]]). With that in mind, Broken Sword begs Nameless that the King of Qin be allowed to succeed, because the peace he will bring will benefit not just China, but everyone around them (figuratively) — ''all under heaven'' (literally). In this case, the term should be interpreted figuratively. But as the average American viewer is probably unaware of China's self-conception, mistranslating ''tiān xià'' as "our land" is a simple way to avoid having to explain it. Zhang Yimou was [ asked] about the change at a screening in Massachusetts and said it was a problem of translation. "If you ask me if 'our land' is a good translation, I can't tell you. All translations are handicapped. Every word has different meanings in different cultures," he said. That wasn't the only change in translation. Cries from the soldiers were changed from "Hail!" to "storm," in order to avoid a [[Nazi]]/[[fascist]] connotation. Others were minor; Nameless addresses the old blind musician (during his fight with Sky) as "Sir" in the Miramax translation. On the import DVDs, he calls him "old man" (actually, Nameless says "lao xiansheng", which means something along the lines of "old gentleman"). Lao can be translated to English as "old". Xiansheng in Chinese is a polite way of addressing men, such as "sir" or "mister" in English.

Snippet ends. Feureau 21:45, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

I can't substantiate that stuff, but there were critics who said it had a controversial political subtext. The Washington Post's review was positive but indicated the film ultimately endorses tyranny and so ends up morally wrong, even if beautiful along the way.[1]. The Village Voice compares it to something Leni Riefenstahl might have done[2] and the reviewer at Philadelphia Weekly called it "politically sickening."[3] Lucius Shepard was highly negative, but then again he is almost always highly negative. That said most reviews were positive.--T. Anthony 19:02, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Is there a reason why this page doesn't mention that the Movie was based off of traditional Chinese legend? that would probably be more informative and give a better explanation for why the movie was backed by the Chinese government than conspiracy theory. Just a thought 22:26, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

  • I am wondering why there seems to be no mention of the strong philosophical undertone of the film; like causality, fate and destiny, etc? --Charlie Huang 【遯卋山人】 22:26, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Changed a comment in the Trivia section to correct an error regarding the comic book version.[edit]

A comment in the trivia section stated that in the comic book version by Wing Shin Ma, Nameless killed the emperor. This was not the case in the Comics One graphic novel Hero, which is by Wing Shin Ma and is (I think) the comic book in question. In this graphic novel, not only does Nameless not kill the emperor, but Broken Sword, Flying Snow and Nameless all survive (in addition to Sky, who also survived in the movie). I edited the comment to reflect this. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:24, 10 March 2007 (UTC).

theme of color throughout film not relevent?[edit]

i would've thought the use of color in portraying different POV's is quite central to not only the purely aesthetic aspects of the movie, but also the plot itself as it is through the shifting POV's that we begin to understand the film, but searching the article for anything remotely related only turns up a broken link ( ) thoughts?

yes, it's used to great effect when Nameless tells the Emperor about how he came to defeat the lover warriors: first he tell a lie depicting them as futile persons and the photography is red; then, the Emperor counters that by having known them personaly and thought they were noble (blue); finally, lie uncovered Nameless decides to tell the truth (white). Very symbolical, very aesthetically pleasing. These narratives within narratives, the photography, the direction and the music are what turn this movie in a masterpiece, regardless of the simple story itself or any hidden agendas causing discomfort in free-thinkers...

I've added a few mentions of the color themes to the plot summary.Warren Dew (talk) 05:12, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

what style(s)?[edit]

what style(s) of martial arts were used in this film? Tkjazzer 05:28, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Jet Li, Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi among others all do wushu (a kind of amalgamation of Chinese MAs) - lots of nice "flying" and spinning. Ubershock 21:30, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Sympathetic to Emperor?[edit]

The article states that the film presents the first emperor in a sympathetic light. I do not see how this can be stated. The film is sympathetic to the emperor's cause and not to the man. It actually shows the man to be fairly brutal when the calligraphy school is covered with arrows even though many inside the school are innocent and the fact that Nameless' whole reason for wanting to kill the emperor is because of the emperor's brutality. The main characters don't let the emperor live because he deserves to live, it is because the fact is that he has the best chance of uniting china. I'm sure that they did not particularly like the emperor, they just knew that because he was the most powerful ruler, he could unite all of china and, in the end, create peace within china. Something all of them wanted. They knew if they killed him Qin would lose its power and China would stay in a state of war for many more years. For this reason I think the article should be edited to say something more about how the movie is sympathetic to the cause and not the man. What do you think? --Kyle(K1000)(talk) 21:40, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

I think most westerners can hardly understand the implication in the film from a Chinese perspective. My understanding is, it's not a sympathy to the Emperor nor his cause. It's a sympathy towards the people that will be affected (the people under heaven). If you lived in a country who just underwent centuries of chaos, you will understand. The theme of film is tragedic, because all those assasins still hated the Emperor, but they chose not to kill him for the people under the heaven. That's a modern Chinese mentality.
So you would take the whole paragraph about being sympathetic out?--Kyle(K1000)(talk) 21:15, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

I have removed the paragraph talking about being sympathetic to the emperor because it is not fact. As shown by the three different views already expressed, the movie can be taken in different lights. The many possible viewpoints makes it wrong to present it as fact that the emperor is seen in a good light and as such I have removed the paragraph completely. Unless a source can be presented that has someone involved with the making of the movie stating something about how the emperor is presented as good, the paragraph should be left off. I doubt a source will be found since the director has already said that there were no political motives behind the film. --Kyle(K1000)(talk) 23:09, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

I'm not Chinese or at all expert in Chinese culture, so I don't feel able to do it myself, but I think this section needs rewriting:

"However, Chinese viewers do not feel any discomfort by the western viewers about the ideological issue due to a long formed historical and cultural influence indicating that China must be unified. Chinese rulers in different period always attempt to unify the country, as they regard the political separation could only be temporary. It may partially explain why China always reunified after the short separation period.

But the film is generally not well received by the Chinese. Although it was the then biggest Chinese film in terms of the investment(suplused by Red Cliff (2009)), and produced an excellent box office returns, it drew heavy criticism from the Chinese community due to the simplicity and plain of the story line. Notably, Director Zhang Yimou's later big budget film House of Flying Daggers was also criticized for the same reason in China."

It is badly written and difficult to understand what the writer means. In the first paragraph it is not clear whether the writer means that Chinese viewers do not feel the same discomfort as western viewers, or that Chinese viewers are not concerned about discomfort felt by western viewers. Either or both might be true, but it's not clear what is meant.

The second paragraph just needs cleaning up for vocabulary (suplused? simplicity and plain?), but also, what does the "Chinese community" mean? Chinese film critics? Chinese general journalists? I don't know the answer, but I think this needs fixing by someone who does. RB1956 (talk) 12:35, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Black and white film?[edit]

This movie was in the category "Black and white films". Me and my girlfriend have just seen the movie, and we can't recall a single black and white scene. Also, no content on the article refers to anything black and white. I'm removing the category, sorry if I made a mistake ; )

Fair use rationale for Image:Hero poster.jpg[edit]

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Image:Hero poster.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot 05:09, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Hero.png[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Hero.png is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

Emperor or King?[edit]

In the plot section, the Emperor is always reffered to as the Emperor even while he was still King. Is this correct?-- (talk) 18:37, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

BetacommandBot (talk) 18:15, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

The English subtitles on the American DVD version start out using "King", but I think the spoken Chinese uses the word for Emperor ("Shihuang"). My Mandarin isn't very good, though, so perhaps someone who has more facility with the language can better figure out if "King" would be mor appropriate for the plot synopsis.Warren Dew (talk) 05:21, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

You're right. The word "King" should be more approriate. In Chinese "huang" means "emperor", "wang" means "king", so he could only be called "Emperor" after he unified China. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:32, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Unstoppable technique[edit]

From the text as written, it implies that Nameless' lethal assassination technique is the ability to inflict a non-fatal wound while appearing to be fatal to onlookers. From my memory, I thought his technique 'Death within ten paces'/'The Fatal Ten' was the ability to strike exactly how he wanted within the aforementioned distance, thus allowing for the non-fatal aspect while still making it a lethal technique. I'll review the scene where Nameless describes his technique and make the according changes to the synopsis. Oni no Akuma (talk) 15:25, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

You're right. His technique allows him to hit his target with perfect precision within ten paces. This allows him to fatally or non-fatally wound his target as he chooses. (talk) 23:14, 13 March 2011 (UTC)


One of my favorite parts of this movie is when the king suggests that the Hero has underestimated someone, and when the hero asks who, the king simply says "me." It's the only instance in the movie when he uses the informal "wo" to address himself. At all other times, he uses the Chinese equivalent of the the royal we, the characters for which I haven't been able to identify. The English subtitles make no distinction between the two, however, translating both simply as an informal "I." Does anyone think this issue is worth mentioning in the section concerning the translation?

-Sam —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:12, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

2003 Jade Empire "parody" ending.[edit]

In one of the endings to the video game Jade Empire, the PC can choose to sacrifice themself so that order can be brought to the Empire. Should this be mentioned anywhere? Was it even a conscious attempt at a parody, or simply a Chinese archetypal situation coming to the fore again? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:19, 9 September 2009 (UTC)


From my understanding/memory of the film the protagonist had been an orphan with no name so he was named Nameless. The article describes him as being nameless. Have I made a mistake or should this be rectified? (talk) 23:21, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

The Twentieth Sword[edit]

I think that much of the controversy concerning Authoritarianism and personal liberty are answered in one of the most important (and IMHO, overlooked) scenes in the film, the "twentieth sword ideogram" unfurling above the throne of the King / Emperor. The necessity of violence is explained as a transient state, and that to continue to rule through violence for very long will be opposed by increasingly powerful people as the proper time for violence continues to recede in the past. ("Arrogant dragon will have cause to repent." Hexagram 1, Quien, line 6 [the top line], I Ching) I think it would be a good idea to have this ideogram, in some form, somewhere here on the Wiki, as I wonder if it has any historical basis. -- TheLastWordSword (talk) 15:03, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

Production and Filming[edit]

I think the article could use a little info about this if anyone has it. Specifically, I was curious where filming locations were. Autumn Wind (talk) 18:58, 13 July 2016 (UTC)