Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Susano

Hero HERO

Recommended Posts

Just got back from watching Jet Li in HERO.

 

Wheewww... baby!

 

Visually the film is just stunning. The fights are fast and furious, and the characters pull some eye-popping stunts. I had to deal with laughter in the audience (from people expecting KISS OF THE DRAGON, CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE, or some other nonsense no doubt), when ever the characters started leaping and flying about. I saw some great ideas for NINJA HERO powers, such as a Dispel versus Shields Linked to a sword HKA (and/or as a Damage Shield), A Double Knockback sword strike, Telekinesis via sword (defined as a swirling wind), and a Forcewall versus arrows (Gestures throughout). Another interesting idea saw a STR Drain linked to one's sword strikes. Basically, you are hitting so hard you make the other guy unable to hold onto his sword.

 

IMO, the most gorgeous fight scene is one where two characters, dressed all in red, duel amidst a "storm" of falling yellow leaves. Must be seen to truly be appreciated.

 

Anyway, I give the film four stars **** and highly recommend giving it a try.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

So should we be anticipating an eventual appearance on Surbrook's Stuff ? BTW I'm watching it tomorrow. I hope to make use of UMA after that, and maybe find other inspiration once Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow premier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

I rented Hero on DVD about four or five months ago and was blown away, then bought it on import DVD at Comic-Con-- then saw it tonight from the second row. I think I like the original Chinese release better than the American version (which had slightly different subtitles and some exposition before and after the actual film).

 

Still, that's good stuff. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

I actually bough the import of it a couple of months ago so I have the DVD to it.

 

The only fight scene that impressed me was between the two legends, Donnie Yen and Jet Li (the first fight scene....). But the cinemaphotography is amazing, and so is the story. I guess I'm not a big fan of the whole leaping and flying Wuxia element of storytelling, because I think its far too "loud" and screams "this so so f$%*ing cool isn't it?", but I very much admire the core of wuxia stories, that of finding the heart of a warrior and usually about finding peace amidst war.

 

To me, what makes Hero so great isn't the fights, but the amazing storytelling. It is heads and shoulders above Crouching Tiger hidden Dragon, which is quite a feat in itself.

 

I'd be reluctant to do a Hero type campaign setting because to truly capture the grandeur of Hero requires the ability of the player to sacrifice. Almost all chinese stories usually have unhappy endings, as the chinese philosophy of storytelling would agree quite readily with the Greek saying, "wisdom comes from suffering". But if your players are mostly of the Tragedian sort, then i think a campaign like this would be great, but otherwise, I see too many people claiming to run Wuxia campaigns that are really nothing more than Dragonball Z martial-arts fests. Hero is most definitely not suited for players who want this style of campaign

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

Wish I'd seen this when working on NINJA HERO.

 

I didn't write it until this past Spring. :)

 

Although most of the reference materials have been available on the net for some time, I just started collating things earlier this year when I was planning a campaign. (Which was regarded by my players as one of my best when run, by the way. I highly recommend this genre!)

 

I can't recommend http://www.spcnet.tv's Reading Rooms and Forum enough for source material, though. ^_^

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

I actually bough the import of it a couple of months ago so I have the DVD to it.

 

I'd be reluctant to do a Hero type campaign setting because to truly capture the grandeur of Hero requires the ability of the player to sacrifice. Almost all chinese stories usually have unhappy endings, as the chinese philosophy of storytelling would agree quite readily with the Greek saying, "wisdom comes from suffering". But if your players are mostly of the Tragedian sort, then i think a campaign like this would be great, but otherwise, I see too many people claiming to run Wuxia campaigns that are really nothing more than Dragonball Z martial-arts fests. Hero is most definitely not suited for players who want this style of campaign

 

I would comment that we should keep in mind that the term WuXia is like the term Swashbuckling, Fantasy or even Western, it's a genre and covers a lot of ground and a lot of different types of stories. HERO is a type of WuXia story, the epic tragedy as you point out, and a lot of WuXia stories do have a tragic element to them, but there are just as many which are lighthearted and adventurous romps.

 

Better to base a game off something like The Adventures of Lu Xiaofeng or the works of Jin Yong (which can be found in SPCnet's WuXia Translations forum.)

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

Well, the meaning of wuxia has unfortunately become distorted over time. Wuxia literature has evolved over time, and much of modern wuxia stories are indeed not much different than DragonBall Z with secret societies added in. Wuxia literature also evolved from a perspective of the hero trying to uphold Confucian values (which most of the jianghu values are derived from) with his own human frailties. They were often about a hero trying to remain virtuous while reconciling the ideas of humility, or about the desire for revenge against the needs of duty or sacrifice for the greater good. The Chinese love playing these competing values against one other to highlight the suffering. Later on, it evolved as a counter-Confucian culture and actually went against those very same values.

 

But it's quite often that people confuse genre, setting and atmosphere. For example, MASH was a series set in a war, however, it (usually) had a comedic and light-hearted atmosphere to it (though it's genius lay in contrasting light-hearted comedy with deathly serious human issues). The same can be said of Hogan's Heroes...while the setting was a prison war camp in WWII, it was all comedy and light-hearted humor. Therefore it would be misleading to say both TV series were War series. Yes, they both took place in wars and had some elements and backgrounds that required war as plot devices, but it would generate in someone's mind a different set of ideas of what the series would be about since War doesn't often conjure images of comedy.

 

Wuxia itself literally is composed of Wu, which means war or martial, and xia, which is something akin to a wandering knight. So indeed, this can encompass a broad range of atmospheres and settings. But traditional Wuxia does have a distinct meaning as compared to modern Wuxia. Most western audiences are actually probably more familiar with traditional wuxia. Most gamers have heard of "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", and have probably seen CTHD as well as Hero. These are all examples of traditional Wuxia. They all have very serious atmospheres and tones that reflect confucian and/or Taoist viewpoints. But gamers have also been flooded with modern Wuxia elements, like Feng Shui and Exalted. Modern wuxia has blurred the lines between traditional wuxia, your average chop-socky, and quentin-tarantino bloodbaths.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

I was rather surprised to recently learn how far back some of the more (to my mind) over-the-top elements of wuxia film actually go. Among the earliest works of Chinese cinema (back in the silent days) there are a number of wuxia films that include flying people and, in one, flying swords which were actually painted onto the film negatives frame by frame to animate them. I'd always assumed "wire-fu" had been a progression towards finding more visually interesting and extreme effects, but it actually was a safer method of doing many flying stunts that had been part and parcel of the films for ages (for instance, to have a guy leap two stories up, they had him film a jump up at the foot of a bulding. Then they edited in a reverse sequence of film of him jumping off the same building backwards. Wire work is actually much easier on the stuntmen and the actors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

Dauntless,

 

I agree with what you're saying, but I think deliniating it into "traditional WuXia" and "Modern WuXia" is still a bit of a simplification. Very much like American pulp fiction, WuXia pulp fiction exploded onto the Chinese fiction market in the early part of the 20th century and continued on from there. Wang DuLu, author of CTHD was part of that early explosion, writing CTHD in the 1930's if I remember correctly, as part of the original wave of "modern" WuXia fiction writers.

If we are to simplify it, I would say there is 3 major periods in WuXia Fiction that I know of...

 

"Classicial" WuXia, which of course includes Romance of the 3 Kingdoms and the Water Margins, and other things that predate the 20th century. These are stories of trust, honor and "martial chivalry".

 

"Traditional WuXia" stories, which would be anything written during the first half of the 20th century such as CTHD. These I suspect are closer to pulp adventure romps, kind've a cross between the old stories and modern adventure stories, as the emphasis has shifted to the fighting and to a lesser degree the cool moves.

 

"Modern WuXia" stories which would be anything written after the 1950's which inlcude and are heavily influenced by Jin Yong's work. Here it's all about the cool supermoves and the secrety socieities, epic stories that weave history in, but are ultimately all setups for the next cool fight.

 

Technically, there is a "Postmodern WuXia" story as well, which would start in the 1980's (maybe 1990's) and include the WuXia stories which seem to carry in them influences of American superhero comics and Japanese anime like DragonBall Z. I would put Wing-Shing Ma's Stormriders in this category with it's godlike characters.

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

True, there's no line you can find that draws the division between the classical elements of Wuxia stories and the modern versions. But I still think it's good to bring up the point that there are differences lest people think that Wuxia means this or means that. It's precisely because there are variations of Wuxia that I think it's good to point them out so people who only have one concept in their minds of what Wuxia means knows that there differences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

True' date=' there's no line you can find that draws the division between the classical elements of Wuxia stories and the modern versions. But I still think it's good to bring up the point that there are differences lest people think that Wuxia means this or means that. It's precisely because there are variations of Wuxia that I think it's good to point them out so people who only have one concept in their minds of what Wuxia means knows that there differences.[/quote']

 

I couldn't agree more. :)

 

Actually, I sometimes wonder if WuXia should even be considered a Genre, since the elements that people often associate with WuXia here (wire fu, martial action, secret societies, etc) can find their way into Chinese comedies, romances, dramas and anything else set in their past. They almost seem to accept those elements as being a normal part of history rather than exclusively WuXia.

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

Hmmm. We saw House (or Clan) of the Flying Daggers at the cinema last week, which is Xhang Jimou's movie after Hero. It's also a Wuxia movie, this time with the requisite secret society :) but is less epic than Hero and also a bit more light-hearted (although of course still has a bitter ending - I don't think Xhang Jimou has ever made a cheerful movie...)

 

But Hero was released nearly three years back. Is this its first pass through cinemas in the US, or is it a return visit?

 

cheers, Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

Since HERO's doing well, maybe we'll see another WuXia boom like followed CTHD. But I guess we'll have to see how it does this weekend to know if it's really doing well or that was just Miramax's advertising at work.

 

On another note, MarkDoc how was House of Flying Daggers? I am really curious about that one, but I've heard mixed reviews.

 

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

Well, I'd rated Hero 4 out of 5 stars, pushing upwards, while I'd rate HotFD 4 leaning downwards.

 

I don't want to post any spoilers, so I'll be vague.

 

Plusses:

good workmanlike storyline, with plenty of backstabbing and doublecrosses, but nothing too hard on the brain.

Some nifty fightscenes, even if nothing as eye-popping as that first fight in Hero (I loved the shoot-4-arrows-very-fast-and-save-the-heroine scene)

Nice cinematography - but again, nothing that actually makes your eyes stick out on stalks like a few scenes in Hero did

Less wire-fu (that's a plus for me, anyway)

 

Minuses

Given that wire-fu was downplayed, the actual flying daggers did some totally impossible stuff: for some reason that was just irksome. It's not just me - the audience, who by and large were into the film, just laughed at some of these.

 

and one spoiler I can't avoid - scroll down if you don't mind seeing it:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last scene. The final fight between the two main male characters takes place in a blizzard that blows up instantly out of nowhere. Nice visual, but like the flying daggers above, this just provoked derisive laughter. You could almost hear the director off-camera shouting "snowstorm!" The same fight in the snow goes on too long, with the characters inflicting totally ludicrous amounts of damage on each other and then, at the climax of the fight the "dead" woman with the dagger in her heart - who's mostly buried in snow by this point - wakes up to make a melodramatic speech and gesture - and then dies (again). In a Shaw brothers movie from 1979, you'd kind of expect this, but in a mostly serious story about love and betrayal, you don't want your audience cackling like a bunch of 6 years lining up for their Ritalin.

 

I think that's why the mixed reviews: the movie is a solid martial arts flick, with production values waaaay above the average - but then in the very last scene, willing suspension of disbelief is dragged offstage and savagely beaten: and that's the impression you leave the theatre with.

 

It's similar to the current asian rave-movie of the moment, Casshern, which has some cool ideas, really eye-popping visuals and style - and then does this incredibly awful Final Fantasy-style lecture at the end. The audience is squirming in their seats, going, "Alright, alright, enough already, we get the point, just DIE and shut up, so we can finish the movie!"

 

And like all film reviews, your mileage may vary, not available in all sizes, colours may vary from those shown and void where prohibited.

 

cheers, Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

Oh man.

 

Don't get me started on why HERO took 2.5 years to make it to North American cinema when they knew during its filming that it would get a world-wide release (that was their wish in any case).

 

Lets just say that if it wasn't for Quentin Tarantino begging Miramax executives to release the film unedited (or relatively so) we might never have seen it or what we would have seen would have been significantly altered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

Just got back from watching Jet Li in HERO.

 

Wheewww... baby!

 

Great film huh?

 

Visually the film is just stunning. The fights are fast and furious, and the characters pull some eye-popping stunts. I had to deal with laughter in the audience (from people expecting KISS OF THE DRAGON, CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE, or some other nonsense no doubt), when ever the characters started leaping and flying about. I saw some great ideas for NINJA HERO powers, such as a Dispel versus Shields Linked to a sword HKA (and/or as a Damage Shield), A Double Knockback sword strike, Telekinesis via sword (defined as a swirling wind), and a Forcewall versus arrows (Gestures throughout). Another interesting idea saw a STR Drain linked to one's sword strikes. Basically, you are hitting so hard you make the other guy unable to hold onto his sword.

 

You are kidding right?

 

That stuff has been present in Wuxia/Chinese Martial arts films for decades. You just now noticed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

You are kidding right?

 

That stuff has been present in Wuxia/Chinese Martial arts films for decades. You just now noticed?

 

Maybe, but this is the first time I recall seeing those exact powers (except maybe the arrow deflection stunt) or seeing them done that way. If you own NINJA HERO, I've seen every film listed in the back (that's why they are there), and I don't recall seeing some of these powers in any of those. Of course, as I said, it is also a matter of awareness (I'm more inclined to look for such things now) and of visual presentation (the stunts many have been more obvious in HERO).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

Don't get me started on why HERO took 2.5 years to make it to North American cinema when they knew during its filming that it would get a world-wide release (that was their wish in any case).

 

Lets just say that if it wasn't for Quentin Tarantino begging Miramax executives to release the film unedited (or relatively so) we might never have seen it or what we would have seen would have been significantly altered.

 

Can I get ye started? I'm curious because I watched it on the big screen way back but I kinda got the impression that it was showing at the same time in the U.S. or that the U.S. had already seen it.

 

Kinda surprising given that Jet Li had had a string of movies that had done fairly well at the time...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

Oh man.

 

 

Lets just say that if it wasn't for Quentin Tarantino begging Miramax executives to release the film unedited (or relatively so) we might never have seen it or what we would have seen would have been significantly altered.

 

That's pretty lame. What would they take out to make it "better" or "more acceptable"? geeze, what a bunch of retards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

That's pretty lame. What would they take out to make it "better" or "more acceptable"? geeze' date=' what a bunch of retards.[/quote']

 

 

Agreed.

 

Did you notice how the movie said "Presented by Quentin Tarrantino"? QT had nothing to do with this films production.

 

Basically that was the deal Miramax execs made with Quentin. They said they would release it if they could put his name on it. You see, Miramax execs weren't optimistic about this films success, so they decided to use Quentin's name to sell tickets.

 

Quite a few people I worked with though Quentin directed Hero because of that "tag line" in the trailer. (I set them straight of course)

 

Obviously the ploy worked, because HERO was #1 two weeks in a row...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

I just saw Hero, I liked it. But one thing struck me. The philosophical notion of sacrificing everything for peace throughout China, so that no-one else would have to suffer war again, was beautifully presented, but I was reminded of one of the reasons the Orient and the Occident have never really understood one another. The whole plot was an exercise in "the ends justify the means."

 

"Let's have a big war so that there will be peace throughout the land under one ruler," is like saying "I'm going to enslave you so no-one else can make you work for them." That still leaves the guy doing the enslaving to worry about, and even if he has the best of intentions, it's still wrong to enslave.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Hero HERO

 

I just saw Hero, I liked it. But one thing struck me. The philosophical notion of sacrificing everything for peace throughout China, so that no-one else would have to suffer war again, was beautifully presented, but I was reminded of one of the reasons the Orient and the Occident have never really understood one another. The whole plot was an exercise in "the ends justify the means."

 

"Let's have a big war so that there will be peace throughout the land under one ruler," is like saying "I'm going to enslave you so no-one else can make you work for them." That still leaves the guy doing the enslaving to worry about, and even if he has the best of intentions, it's still wrong to enslave.

 

I agree with you, however looking at history his effort was borne out. He ended 5000 or so years of near-constant warfare in China and literally brought them to a new level of civilization which was beyond the West at the time. Of course, he also brought 2000 years of dynastic infighting that caused China to develop much slower than it could have (as side effect of relative peace), but overall he produced a strong monolithic country which has survived a lot longer than pretty much anything but the Roman Empire did. (And if you think this is an Oriental thing, go look up Pax Romana....)

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...