Besides the fact that Donnie Yen--IMHO, the most to-die-for, gorgeous, talented and fierce kung fu movie star since Bruce Lee--is only on screen for about 15 minutes, there is no excuse to not see Hero, Zhang Yimou's epic spectacle of color, light, wind machines, stunning period costumes, beautiful actors and vicious kung fu and swordplay.
It's taken long enough for Hollywood to release this film in the US--a 2-year delay! I had to wait 2 frickin' years to see this movie on the big screen. And I refused to watch in on DVD until I'd seen it in a theater first. Just wouldn't have the same affect. And I have to say it's been worth the wait. I know a movie is good when it inspires me deep in my gut to want to get up and start swinging my kali sticks in concentric circles. (Or maybe it was seeing Tuhan slice the air at Gura and Rhett's pamanhikan). I also have a special T'boli weapon that I acquired more than a year ago but have yet to practice with. I think I need to get back into the swing of things before I bring it to class, though.
I can't figure out why Donnie Yen is not a huge star in the U.S. already--besides the fact that American audiences lack a sophisticated taste in martial arts films and martial artists. No offense to Jet, who is another favorite of mine, but Donnie's better-looking, just as good a martial artist and actor (if not better on the acting tip--I mean, did you see the scene in Iron Monkey when he tells his son not to cry?), and he has a spine-tingling screen presence that just lights up any scene he's in (Donnie's the only thing I remember about Highlander: Endgame, really).
The only explanation I've heard that makes sense as to why Mr. Yen is not a household name is this one: that maybe he doesn't want to be a big movie star. My friend D. thinks Donnie is quite content to direct his own films and do martial arts choreography and other behind the scenes work. I can see why that might be the reason, and it makes me like Donnie even more that he is so multi-talented. But I still want more Donnie on the screen, kicking ass and being beautiful. I want to see more Donnie, more Donnie, more Donnie! Don-nie YEN! Don-nie YEN! Don-nie YEN! (Whoa, I must've caught the RNC protest-chant bug from my comrades out on the frontlines in NYC).
Enough already, I need to go pack for my camping trip. Go see Hero already.
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