Hero ★★★ Ying Xiong 2003 (PG-13)
Visually stunning movie combines martial arts, tragedy, historical drama, and philosophy into one complex, satisfying epic. Set in 3rd century B.C. China, the story revolves around swordsman Nameless (Li), who hunts down three assassins for the ruthless King (Chen), who used brutal methods to bring the various states of China under his leadership. Told mostly in flashback, Nameless unveils his encounters with the warriors (Leung, Cheung, and Yen) to the King, but all is not as it seems, and in the end Nameless faces a choice of what his place in the King's newly unified China should be. Features meticulous, creative cinematography (each segment has its own color theme) and beautiful martial arts sequences, but is hindered by inconsistent performances. The most expensive Chinese production ever made at $30 million, it has been criticized for appearing to endorse the government's stance on a unified China. 98m/C DVD, Blu-ray Disc, UMD . HK CH Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, Donnie Yen, Zhang Ziyi, Tony Leung ChiuWai, Daoming Chen; D: Yimou Zhang; W: Yimou Zhang, Feng Li, Bin Wang; C: Christopher Doyle; M: Tan Dun.