December 31, 2022
Poor China. For a few years, their budding cinema industry was full of excitement. Now that the dust has settled down, we're seeing a lot of sentimental garbage that gobbles up talented actors and directors. Hero is the latest in a string of films that feel like the creativity was sucked out of it at some stage.
It's no surprise that a Chinese film dealing with the early days of the COVID pandemic is going to feel a bit ... restrained. We get three interconnected stories, about women in different cities who are facing the troubles of the pandemic in their own unique ways. Of course, it's all about their strength and compassion.
With Sylvia Chang, Joan Chen, and Shaohong Li behind the camera, and Xun Zhou and Sammi Cheng in front of it, this should've been an easy sell, but somehow the drama comes off quite cheesy and unearned. It's all very heavy-handed, quite uncinematic and at two hours long, stretched beyond its breaking point. There's a basic quality present, but at the same time, they can do so much better.