Just got back from seeing Hero with Jet Li (but without Najm - *glare*). For an overall review, check out Najm's review of the movie. The grand saga of the beginnings of ancient China was interesting and the scenery was amazing. The story-line of the assassins was intriguing and I'm a big fan of the twist. The musical score was wonderful and nicely enhanced the action and drama. And, the best part, the color scheme and visuals were enchanting and dazzling. I'm sure the comparisons to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will be endless and inevitable (especially regarding the gravity-defying fight scenes which are soooooo 2000), but the moments of tranquility and the delicious eye-candy scenes are worth it. In particular, the graceful battle among the swirling, yellow leaves in the forest (the splash of yellow during the red scene) was spectacular.
I usually like my hi-yah movies with more weaponless fights; this one was purely swordplay throughout. The exception to that preference is when something that would not ordinarily be thought of as a weapon is used as such - like an umbrella in the Once Upon a Time in China series and (one of my favorite flicks) Iron Monkey or a wooden bench, a long-sleeved shirt, kitchen utensils, or almost anything in almost every Jackie Chan movie. But keeping in mind that this is more historical drama than chop-sockey comedy, I did enjoy this movie. It was a treat to recognize some of the locations and remember my own visit to China. I would have liked to have seen more steely-eyed Donnie Yen and less spastic Ziyi Zhang, but I was happy with my Jet Li fix. I'll give this movie two swords (at ten paces) up.