A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this mature movie is a meditation on the nature of heroism, the purpose of violence, and what it takes to live in peace. So if you go expecting Jackie Chan, your kids will be mystified. Kids younger than 12 are going to find the circular nature of the narrative very confusing since the story is told four different times in four different versions. Also, unlike Crouching Tiger, there's a lot of talking in the movie, which means a lot of subtitles. Unless you want someone tugging on your arm saying "What did he say?" we suggest teens and up age wise. There's one naked tush in the beginning, and a woman has her clothes ripped off in a lovemaking scene but otherwise, the only concern is the swordplay and the occasional blood.
What's the story?
Set in a time before the unification of China, HERO follows the story of a nameless warrior (martial arts star Jet Li) who plans to assassinate the ruthless ruler of the kingdom of Qin. He tells the king he has killed the king's three most feared enemies -- Sky, Snow, and Broken Sword -- but the king doesn't believe his story. Three further flashback stories ensue in scenes accented with reds, whites, blues, and greens.
Is it any good?
Hero is a very sophisticated movie. It's not Jackie Chan or even Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but a serious meditation on the nature of heroism. This may be one of the most beautiful movies ever shot.
There is some blood, a good deal of suspense and, in what is guaranteed to confuse younger kids, "nameless" tells four different versions of the story to the king. As one 10-year-old said, "It doesn't have a clear plot, but it does have a clear moral."
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: August 27, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: November 30, 2004
- Cast: Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi
- Director: Zhang Yimou
- Studio: Miramax
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Sports and martial arts
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: stylized martial arts violence and a scene of sensuality
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.