The idea of someone presenting a film has always bothered me somewhat. Quentin Tarantino saw Hero and liked it, so he ‘presented’ it so other people could see it. He had nothing to do with the making of Hero in any way. Yimou Zhang is the man you have to thank for this beautiful film.
Ying Xiong (it’s Mandarin title) is the story of a nameless assassin who visits the King of Qin and claims to have killed the three assassins the king fears the most, Sky, Broken Sword, and Flying Snow. Throughout the whole film the assassin is sitting talking to the king and the scenes are flashbacks of three versions of the story. The first is what the assassin tells the king happened, the second is what the king thinks happened, and the third is what actually happened.
That may sound confusing but it’s really not. It’s quite easy to follow and one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. I guess that’s the kind of work you get when the director is a former cinematographer.
While the fights are great, Tony Leung Chi Wai, Broken Sword, steals all the scenes he’s in. If you enjoy the fight scenes in this film, check out other work by Jet Li, who you probably know, and Donnie Yen, who you may not know. Donnie Yen is one of the main characters in a martial arts film called Iron Monkey and it’s fantastic.