I rate this scene: Hero (2002, Zhang Yi Mou)

29 11 2010

For the record, Tony Leung is my favourite actor in the entire farking universe. No amount of Kimuraness & other fellow Johnny Kness could budge me the slightest mommacrappin bit. Even if all the actors on the planet & Yamashita Tomohisa combined their powers (oh PiPi, you know I have nothing but love for yaaa ;O), I would still rate this man greater. In my eyes, Tony Leung is that brilliant.

And Maggie Cheung… *girl drool* There are alot of actresses in this world but this woman is, put simply, A Movie Star. She has this aura that is reminiscent of a beauty from another era yet the charisma of the hippest contemporary woman- I think she is just so flippin’ cool. Very few today can match the modern grace she embodies.

So in a nutshell, I love them both.

And whenever you put them together, it’s all kindsa fabulous. And frickin’ faaabulous they were both in the 2002 Chinese film by Zhang Yi Mou, Hero.

[ !!!SPOILER ALERT!!! Get out now if you’ve never seen the film but plan on doing so (btw, I would very highly recommend you do indeed see it.) ]

I realised it’s not very often that I ramble on talk about cinema, so, under the influence (of the non-alcoholic variety) of some Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon discussion over at zooey‘s blog, I was feeling my wuxia & could not resist in revisiting Hero, gasping, relishing & weeping once again at their final epically romantic, heart-breaking, soul-shaking scene.

Their characters, Broken Sword (Tony) & Flying Snow (Maggie,) both assassins working with Nameless (character played by martial arts superstar Jet Li) to take down the Emperor during the Warring States Period in China, are here in the ending stages of the story, dueling against each other. For their plan to succeed, one of them must die.

You should all know by now, in such a scenario, the man always sacrifices himself. ALWAYS. If you happen to come across a movie that doesn’t follow this formula, then, well, sorry to burst ya bubble but lemme tell ya now- the man there really ain’t a man. Nor does he really love the woman.

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I gasped at the moment Broken Sword let his sword drop from his hand, allowing Flying Snow to pierce him.

I wept at the moment Flying Snow asked a lifeless Broken Sword, “Why didn’t you defend yourself? Why didn’t you?”

I f**king wailed when Flying Snow wailed.

But by the time she spoke her last words, although I was still crying like a lil innocent boy who had just been shown Takki‘s ero ero dance for the first time (>O>;) I was feeling completely at peace.

“No more drifting, no more roaming.
I’m taking you home now.
Our home.”

I could let go because I knew that they were together. Together, under the one sky, for the rest of time (meanwhile, Zhang Zi Yi‘s character, Moon, is running & tripping over in the background towards the ill-fated couple but, meh, we don’t need to care too much about her, okies? xP)

I know there were several gloriously choreographed fight scenes throughout the movie but this scene here sealed the deal for me.

In my eyes, this is true poetic beauty. 

Watch it here >>>

Tony+Maggie = Pure Cinematic Magic <3

(^^Just had to get that last line off mah chest ;O)

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13 responses

30 11 2010
doozy

If my memory serves me right, I recall loving this movie more than the (more) critically acclaimed Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I went in to see CTHD expectations high because of all the praises but afterward, didn’t really get what all the fuss was about. Now, Hero, I loved. It was gorgeous visually and poetic plot-wise. Like you, I didn’t really care for Zhang Ziyi’s character. She played another spoilt brat young girl in this one too, right? Or did I remember incorrectly? For some reason, I can’t connect with the characters that she plays. I saw Memoirs of a Geisha too, and same deal there.

Re: Tony Leung
What’s your favorite movie of his?

1 12 2010
jicks

I think both movies are beautiful in their own ways- CTHD was a much more character-important kinda story, it really delved deep into the characters’ individual quests in finding their true selves. I did shun it at first but upon rewatching it recently (as a grown up lol) I was able to appreciate it much more. But… personally, I prefer Hero, muchly fpr the reasons that you named :)

And yeah, Zhang Zi Yi, I always feel like I’m bashing the poor girl when I walk about her (which I don’t really mean to…) Unfortunately for me, the bigger her role in a certain movie (post The Road Home) the less I enjoy the movie (yet I still keep getting sucked into watching films with her in them… go figure… -_-;) I think she’s gorgeous & has helped open up the Western audience to Eastern cinema blah blah blah but I have also been unable to connect with her.

Re favourite Tony Leung movie? Shunks, I was supposed to do an entire post on the subject once upon a time lol I still intend to… but for now, I will say, it’s a toss btwn Infernal Affairs (for its commercially stylistic brilliance & the awesome chemistry of the cast) & Chungking Express (because it was just so darn fun to watch) … but what I thought HE WAS BEST in is a whole ‘nother question~~~~~~

What about you? :))

1 12 2010
doozy

ooh yeah, Infernal Affairs is a classic!
Love Tony and Andy in it and also loved them back in ye old days of TVB in Duke of Mt. Deer.

I don’t think I’m as big of a Tony Leung fan as you are. While I acknowledge his immense talent as an actor, I can’t really call myself a fan (sorry, girl), so I don’t have a favorite film, per say. I am, however, thinking about checking out either Chunking Express or In the Mood for Love. Which one would you recommend? Or watch both?

1 12 2010
Ender's Girl

thanks for rating this (absolutely heart-wrenching) scene, jicks! *sniffle*

i loved Crouching Tiger like crazy when i saw it in theaters a decade ago, but i must say that Hero managed to dislodge CTHD and take the top spot as my fave wuxia. i agree that CTHD is more character-driven since the characters’ trajectories are fully explored throughout the entire film, whereas Hero is really just three relatively short, repeating narratives — red, blue & green motifs — plus the resolution at the end — white motif — squeezed into one movie.

i thought that Ang Lee had done a bang-up job with CTHD, but coming out of the theater with my mom after watching Hero i truly felt that Zhang Yimou (or Zimou? is it both?) elevated the Art of Storytelling to a whole new level. aside from the top-notch acting (Jet Li! Donnie! TonyMaggie!) i was floored by how strikingly rendered the film was, from the bold color palettes to the scenic backdrops to the sets (ooohhhh palace drapes!) and costumes. then of course there were those AWESOME fight scenes (Jet Li! Donnie! TonyMaggie! lulz) and the raindrops-in-slow-mo-and-oh!-oh!-here-comes-Nameless’-sword-slicing-thru-the-droplets!!!-and-the-old-blind-man-keeps-playin’-his-zither-watchamacallit!!! type of special effects.

(um… wasn’t Zhang Ziyi’s character named “Moon” and not “Snow”? ^^;;)

@ jicks – will you disown me if i said that i only got watch the Takeshi half of Chungking? *hides under bed and cries* i always meant to finish the movie but never got around to it. my best friend’s like, “it’s TONY. what is WRONG with you?” whenever i bring up my half-finished Chungking experience, lol. *prostrates self at Tony’s feet*

@ doozy – hey i’ll bet my entire KaT-TUN discography that jicks will rec both Chungking and ITMFL! hehehe. anyway, lemme know when you plan that Wong Kar Wai marathon. i promised dahee fanel back in 2008 we’d watch In the Mood for Love together but the plan kind of fell through. (i was distracted by Jang Hyuk while she was heavily crushin’ on Oh Man-seuk i think.) maybe when you and i are done with Chungking and ITMFL we can show our faces to jicks again, lol

***

speaking of Wong Kar Wai… i just remembered the 2001 short film The Follow he did for the BMW series The Hire starring Clive Owen as The Driver. (it’s beautifully shot, but prolly not my fave of the eight shorts… that distinction goes to Star directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Madonna. XD)

The Follow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIHGT8vWleQ
Star: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7i2m7W1CR3w

1 12 2010
twentynineandcounting

I love TONY LEUNG. *HIGH FIVE*

1 12 2010
jicks

High five right backatcha girl! Yeeaa-ah! lol

Glad to know the man is loved ;))

2 12 2010
jicks

I am, however, thinking about checking out either Chungking Express or In the Mood for Love. Which one would you recommend? Or watch both?

@ doozy – hey i’ll bet my entire KaT-TUN discography that jicks will rec both Chungking and ITMFL! hehehe.

^^lolol doozy, E.G.‘s right on the money! E.G. You WIN! You win back your entire KaT-TUN music collection AND, your return, a VIP ALL-Access pass to… The Kame Lounge lol

While you girls are In The Mood For WKW flickies, I would highly recommend… well, all his movies PRE-My Blueberry Nights (I still find it extremely bizarre that the dude went from directing Tony, Maggie, Gong Li &, well, even Kimura lol, to Jude Law & Nora Jones~~~)

Btw, E.G., thanks for linking those BMW films! What a fantastic advertising campaign. The Guy Ritchie/Madonna short cracked me up the hardest but WKW’s one was probably the most beautifully filmed. Except, during the scene when Clive Owen (& could not have been a better choice as The Driver!) & a passed out Adriana Lima were at the bar together, I kept imagining Tony & Maggie in their place (I know I am crazed >O>;) I think my personal fave was the one directed by John Woo… it made me think that Mr Clive Owen would make a pretty cool 007 ;O

um… wasn’t Zhang Ziyi’s character named “Moon” and not “Snow”? ^^;;
^^Yiikes!! *dashes to amend post* Thanks for pointing that out sister! See, I was being serious when I told y’all I wasn’t taking too much notice of her… aah ><

…Almost forgot to say! Never mind on the half finished Chungking Express viewing either xDD I admit I am slightly biased (but, IMO, with good reason *tosses Cannes lol) when it comes to the actor. My brothers often roll their eyes at me everytime I mention to them that they must watch THIS movie & THAT movie of HIS… apart from Duke Of Mount Deer & Infernal Affairs, I don't think they've touched anything else of his, purely I think to spite me & my, ah, admiration for him lol

Even so, I am nowhere near through with his massive filmography. I think he's been in around 70 movies in his career & I am currently sitting at 28… *runs & bangs head into wall*

9 12 2010
zooey

Ach, why do I feel like I just crawled out from under a rock having missed all the WKW discussion and Tony Leung lovefest these past week?

Though I loved CTHD, I must admit that Hero also occupies a special place in my heart for pairing up Tony and Maggie. I have to agree that together, they produce cinematic magic. I’m actually one of those who became a rabid Tony x Maggie shipper after watching In the Mood for Love. I mean what else can you ask for, right? The whole darned thing had very little dialogue and had Nat King Cole blaring in the background but argh… they were just so good in it. And of course, with Hero they just proved that it’s no fluke.

10 12 2010
jicks

zooey!!!!! It’s never too late that join in on the lovefest!!!!! xDDDD lol

I’m fully nodding my head to everything you said. I often think that in the hands of any other actors, In The Mood For Love could have been a snoozefest but these two made it work like magic (& seriously, Maggie Cheung in a cheongsam plus red lippie is like, BooYAH~~)

If only someone could hook them up in something together again…

13 12 2010
zooey

Was hoping to write something longer last week but I didn’t have enough time to do so. So I apologize for the senseless babble that will soon follow but I just wanted to extend the lovefest a while longer. :)

If only someone could hook them up in something together again…

That would be a treat (sigh*). I so loved watching them together that when news of 2046 first came out, I thought I was gonna get the closure I needed. Sadly, WKW’s too caught up in his themes of lost love, time and memory to afford grief-stricken viewers like me any respite. This is the reason why Chungking Express would have to be one of my favorite WKW movies– it’s one of the few, if not the only one of his works that had a fun, zippy vibe to it and more importantly, it had a “happy ending”. I’m gonna snub Blueberry Nights because that whole thing with Nora Jones and Jude Law didn’t have the same emotional draw for me.

And Maggie Cheung in colorful, form-fitting cheongsams– GORGEOUS. Perhaps the only other actress that would make me gape in awe would be Gong Li but Maggie in IMFL totally rocked that Hong Kong circa 60s look.

I f**king wailed when Flying Snow wailed.

I almost did, too, but I saw this in the theater so I had to restrain myself. (Lol) I’m still holding out for another pairing, one wherein the two of them finally get a chance at a happy ending. But then again, I think part of the magic of what makes them click is that sense of lost opportunity, the tragedy of watching two people who love each other get torn apart… It’s kinda like having a knife stuck into your heart every time and yet you come back for more and they dig it in deeper and twist it around. As masochistic as it may sound, they’re the only screen pairing in recent memory that had that kind of impact for me. So yeah, I’m still waiting for that 3rd movie.

19 12 2010
jicks

Sorry zooey for the this delayed reply! Been super busy with work *throws alarm clock across room* Most nights as soon as I come home, I just drop onto the couch & don’t want to move… or THINK lol

But I am refreshed again & eager to help extend the lovefest! tehe xUx I totally agree with your take on Chungking Express. Faye Wong & Tony were both right on the money. Bridget Lin in her blonde wig is also an image to remember :) And Takeshi & his pineapples lol (love that man.)

It sounds like 2046 failed to impress you though..? While it’s not my favourite WKW project & the plot itself didn’t always entirely make sense (at least not on the first vieweing!), I still admired it tremendously for its gorgeous cinematography. I loved how there were numerous references to WKW’s previous works. And dare I say, Kimura-san rawked hard in this, I think he was absolutely worth the ticket admission fees alone (much, much more than his I Come With The Rain endeavours… not that it was entirely his fault…)

But then again, I think part of the magic of what makes them click is that sense of lost opportunity, the tragedy of watching two people who love each other get torn apart…
^I am totally nodding my head away here, girl!!! But er, I highly doubt Carina Lau will be agreeing on a 3rd Tony+Maggie movie lol j/ks In all seriousness, I’ve heard Tony in an interview before & he did mention that whenever he loves working with Maggie because there is just this unexplainable (onscreen!) chemistry. But similar to what you say though, maybe the fact the two aren’t paired up as often as most of us fans would like to see is also a part of the magic factor- the mystique, the longing, the desire… but still, if they make that 3rd movie, baby, I’lll so be there! x_O

27 12 2010
zooey

Now it’s my turn to apologize for this late reply. Been busy this month, had problems with our internet connection and then our 5-yr old computer at home konked out. By the time we had it replaced, preparations for the christmas holidays were in full swing so I haven’t had the chance to stalk my blog list.

For the record, I did like 2046. It’s one of those movies that’s distinctly WKW in terms of style and subject matter. My only problem with it is that it didn’t provide the closure I needed. Tong Leung’s character was in some way stuck in the past, doomed to relive the past while being forced to forge on into the future. It was a bit sad and melancholic, but all in all a beautiful film. :)

29 12 2010
jicks

This must’ve been a worldwide sensation as we had connection problems the other day as well!!! Seriously went through withdrawals lol

But glad to know we’re all back & clicking :) Also glad to know that you did like 2046 because now we can still be friends ahahah j/ks. No, seriously, if you were to ask me, although I do think very highly of 2046 & think in some ways it is more rewatchable, I would say In The Mood For Love is the superior movie. Now the burning question is, what does WKW look like WITHOUT sunglasses? ^O^;

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