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A critic once stated that Hero is what Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon would be if it were boring.  Well said.  Hero took the world by storm and garnered the praise of hundreds of critics and the applause of thousands of moviegoers.  I have no idea what movie I just saw, then, because it was obviously not the same film.  Let it be known that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of my top ten favorite movies of all time.  I'll save my gushing praise for its own review.  Based on my love of this film and the assertion of my sister that Hero was even better, I went in with much excitement and anticipation.  It DID look like a cool movie from the commercials.  Needless to say, though, where Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sent my spirit soaring, Hero just gave me a massive headache.  The characters didn't affect me whatsoever.  They just came off seeming like one dimensional mouthpieces for the movie's flowery, overindulgent psychobabble.  The movie is mostly set up as a series of flashbacks, some real and some fake, thus making things even more confusing.  Outside of these flashbacks, the two main characters of the movie just sit in one area and do nothing but discuss for most of the duration of the entire film.  The fight scenes are long, slow, and go absolutely nowhere.  The final insult comes at the end of the film.  In order to prove what's ultimately wrong about this film, one must spoil it, which is something I won't do here.  Needless to say, I was left wondering what all the fuss was about, why I should've cared about any of the character, and was left angry at the gall of this movie for what it had to say.  Now granted, this movie does have its strong points.  It is vastly more intelligent than the average Jet Li movie.  It is very colorful and accurately portrays ancient Chinese beliefs and customs.  And the rain of arrows scenes were cool.  But all this is lost in an overwrought narrative that's too convoluted and flowery for its own good.  And color does no good if it fails to evoke emotion.  Chinese language with English subtitles  Grade: C-

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