So last night I went out with a couple friends to dinner. It was someone's birthday and we all decided to order whiskey on the rocks as appetizers for some reason. I've come to the conclusion that I'm just never gonna like whiskey. Tastes like burning. Still! Anyway, we saw a 10:30 showing of Hero after dinner. Before heading in we waited on line to get some snacks. There was probably a dozen people on one line and two cashiers. Basically who ever was at the front of the line would go left or right depending on who became available next. One of the cashiers shouted out that there were 'TWO LINES PEOPLE!' A few of us on line joke mumbled back that we were being democratic with the line splitting based on availability. And how it was really the most fair way. We stood our ground. A few minutes later the cashier got angry. She didn't seem to understand that our democratic system was working just fine. And she demanded two lines. People from the back of the line obeyed and broke off and cut everyone and formed the new line. That sucked. Soon us democratic people realized we weren't in a democracy. It was her consessional world. Her government. She was dictator. Two lines she wanted. And so two lines it was.
Anyway, we all sit down for Hero (after a quick fight as to who got the middle seat. I busted out the argument that I was the biggest person and should have the aisle. The other friend argued that he was the biggest dick and sat down in the row first. The third friend took the middle seat.) After some previews, including the remake of Ju-On which looked only ok and the new Scorsese which looked not right. Hero started up.
Hero is a big giant chinese karate kung-fu movie with subtitles. Heiiiiiii! It took me much longer than I had hoped to adjust to watching the format. I don't see alot of karate movies. I've never even seen really the 'classics'. So unfortunately alot of my exposure is people making fun of chinese karate movies. So as soon as it started it was kinda funny to me. It seemed like a joke. Something about hearing the language so straight forward in a karate setting made me a little giggily. But I struggled just to ignore my ignorance and read. But I was also distracted by the way the movie looked. It was all super big with crazy banging color flare. So I just wanted to look at it and not read the dopey story. I felt reading the plot was making me miss what was going on on the screen which was alot more interesting. After a bit of a real struggle it started to click in for me and I was able to watch it properly- which was necessary as the plot is a little swirly to follow.
Anyway, the real cool thing about this movie is how certain scenes looked. The color of the movie was the real superstar. Swirls of yellows and splashes of blue. Scene to scene was poppy and trippy. Colors flowing and flying and clashing. Some scenes were so visually ridiculous that it crossed over from film art to straight-out art art. But after a certain point it got to the point where the beauty of it all got numbing. Long shots of landscapes or supergraceful karate fights were all impressive but at some point probably 3/4 of the way through I pretty much had to drop out. I was tired of hearing chinese. My eyes were tired. The plot got a little hokey and it was emotionally scallion pancake flat. The high wire fights stopped kicking in. So toward the end I just sat there blinking, and let the film finish its visual pummelment on me-- then I walked out feeling defeated... with bowing respect for the victor.
Three Good Things About This Movie
- Alot of it was eyebuggingly good.
- There was lots of action/karate and 3 out of 4 scenes were kickass totally and there was plenty.
- Although I felt lost in the plot on and off- I did understand it in the end.
Three Bad Things About This Movie
- The Hidden Dragon Matrix fighting thing seems overcooked now.
- The style was sometimes showoffy and as my friend said afterwards ("sometimes it looked like an Acura commercial")
- The emotional stuff was all surface area. Not one moment cut my skin.
All in all I'd say anyone who is a fan of HAI-YA! YAAAAAH! HAH! should get out and see this on the big screen. There's plenty of stuff in it to latch on to and its got some boner worthy stylecandy. Crouching Tiger was a better flick with the advantage of the fighting style newness and all that. But also in Tiger when someone died, I felt it to a certain degree. In Hero, the hail of arrows looked friggin amazing as they rained down.... I just didn't really care who got hit.