History Film / Hero

13th Oct '17 11:20:56 PM StevieWillShowYou
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''Hero'' is a {{Wuxia}} film directed by Creator/ZhangYimou and released in 2002. Starring Creator/JetLi, Creator/MaggieCheung, Creator/ZhangZiyi, Creator/TonyLeung and Creator/DonnieYen, it is set in the troubled transitional period between the Warring Kingdoms and the Qin Dynasty, when the ruthlessly despotic [[UsefulNotes/QinShiHuangdi King of Qin]] was in the process of annexing the other kingdoms of UsefulNotes/{{China}} and incorporating them wholesale into his own.

Jet Li plays Wu Ming ("[[NoNameGiven Nameless]]"), ostensibly a minor official who claims to have vanquished three assassins out to kill the King (Broken Sword, Long Sky and Flying Snow) before he has a chance to declare himself Emperor. As he [[WholeEpisodeFlashback tells his story]] to the terminally paranoid King, [[MagicRealism things turn out]] [[RashomonStyle not to be as]] [[GambitPileup they seem]].

The movie generated political controversy, as the ending was interpreted by some as a justification of despotic rule, and as such an endorsement of the current Chinese authoritarian regime.

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''Hero'' is a 2002 {{Wuxia}} film directed by Creator/ZhangYimou and released in 2002. Starring Creator/ZhangYimou; it stars Creator/JetLi, Creator/MaggieCheung, Creator/ZhangZiyi, Creator/TonyLeung and Creator/DonnieYen, it Creator/DonnieYen. The film is set in the troubled transitional period between the Warring Kingdoms and the Qin Dynasty, when the ruthlessly despotic [[UsefulNotes/QinShiHuangdi King of Qin]] was in the process of annexing the other kingdoms of UsefulNotes/{{China}} and incorporating them wholesale into his own.

Jet Li plays Wu Ming ("[[NoNameGiven Nameless]]"), "[[NoNameGiven Nameless]]", ostensibly a minor official who claims to have vanquished three assassins out assassins--Broken Sword, Flying Snow, and Long Sky--who wanted to kill the King (Broken Sword, Long Sky and Flying Snow) before he has a chance to could declare himself Emperor. As he "Nameless" [[WholeEpisodeFlashback tells his story]] to the terminally paranoid King, [[MagicRealism things turn out]] [[RashomonStyle not to be as]] [[GambitPileup they seem]].

The movie generated political controversy, as the ending was interpreted by some as a justification of despotic rule, rule and as such thus an endorsement of the current Chinese authoritarian regime.regime.



!!Contains examples of:

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!!Contains examples of:
!! ''Hero'' includes the following tropes:



* AnachronismStew: In the North American promotional poster, the sword held by Nameless was [[http://i.imgur.com/rV5o8ki.jpg replaced]] by a Japanese katana. Firstly, katanas were invented around 1600 years after the period in which this film is set. Secondly, it goes without saying that the katana is Japanese, and the entire film is Chinese.
* AntagonistInMourning: [[spoiler: The King of Qin realizes that, despite their differences, Nameless actually understands him better than anyone else ever did. After his soldiers execute Nameless, he gives him an honorable burial in recognition of his respect for him.]]
* ArmorIsUseless: None of the assassins wear any armor. The shields carried by the royal guard are apparently made of styrofoam judging by their resistance to the swordstrokes of Flying Snow and Broken Sword. The King wears armor to protect himself from assassins, but is still aware that Broken Sword and Nameless are capable of killing him at will.
* ArrowCam: Used to follow an arrow flying into the calligraphy school.
* ArrowCatch: When an arrow breaks the rod he was using to practice his calligraphic skills in sand, Broken Sword just grabs the next arrow and uses it to resume his writing.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: While the King is not as good as the four assassins, he gives Broken Sword more of a fight than his entire army. However, Nameless averts this: While he is the second strongest swordsman in the film (only surpassed by Broken Sword), he is only a lowly prefect.

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* AnachronismStew: In the North American promotional poster, the sword held by Nameless was [[http://i.imgur.com/rV5o8ki.jpg replaced]] by a Japanese katana. Firstly, katanas Katanas were invented around 1600 years over a millennium after the period in which this film is set. Secondly, (And it goes without saying that the katana is Japanese, Japanese and the entire film is Chinese.
Chinese.)
* AntagonistInMourning: [[spoiler: The [[spoiler:The King of Qin realizes that, despite their differences, Nameless actually understands him better than anyone else ever did. After his soldiers execute Nameless, he the King gives him an honorable burial in recognition out of his respect for him.respect.]]
* ArmorIsUseless: None of the assassins wear any armor. The shields carried by the royal guard are apparently made of styrofoam styrofoam, judging by their resistance to the swordstrokes of Flying Snow and Broken Sword. The King wears armor to protect himself from assassins, but is still aware that Broken Sword and Nameless are capable of killing him at will.
* ArrowCam: Used The film uses one to follow an arrow flying into the calligraphy school.
* ArrowCatch: When an arrow breaks the rod he that Broken Sword was using to practice his calligraphic skills in sand, Broken Sword just he grabs the next arrow and uses it to resume his writing.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: While the King is not as good as outmatched by the four assassins, he gives Broken Sword more of a fight than his entire army. However, Nameless averts this: While he is the second strongest second-strongest swordsman in the film (only surpassed film--surpassed only by Broken Sword), he Sword--he is only a lowly prefect.



* BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind: Nameless versus Sky, according to one version of the story.
* TheBladeAlwaysLandsPointyEndIn: Happens with the King's sword, and done deliberately at that.
* BloodlessCarnage: Many people throughout the film are stabbed, chopped, or shot with arrows. Yet very little blood is seen.
** In fact, there are only two scenes with any blood whatsoever; [[spoiler: under Broken Sword after he's killed by Flying Snow in the first version of the story and on the sword Fading Moon throws at Flying Snow the scene after.]]
* BodyguardingABadass: Two assassins assault the imperial palace, cutting through a small army to do so. When they reach the King, the weaker of the two stays behind to hold off the whole army alone, while the other goes in to duel the King in single combat. "The Imperial Guard are not worthy of mention," indeed.
* BrokenBird: Flying Snow. [[spoiler: Fading Moon]] becomes one.
* CentralTheme: "One person's pain is nothing when compared to the suffering of all." In other words, [[spoiler: uniting a collection of warring kingdoms does far more good than getting revenge on your homeland's enemy. Sometimes, submitting to a hated foe is ultimately for the best]].
* ChastityCouple: Snow and Sword, in the blue flashback.

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* BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind: Nameless versus Sky, Sky is one of these, according to one version of the story.
* TheBladeAlwaysLandsPointyEndIn: Happens This happens with the King's sword, and it is done deliberately at that.
* BloodlessCarnage: Many The film shows lots of people throughout the film are being stabbed, chopped, or shot with arrows. Yet very little blood is seen.
** In fact, there are
arrows, but it has only two scenes with any blood whatsoever; [[spoiler: under whatsoever: [[spoiler:under Broken Sword after he's he is killed by Flying Snow in the first version of the story story, and on the sword Fading Moon throws at Flying Snow in the scene after.following scene.]]
* BodyguardingABadass: Two assassins assault the imperial palace, cutting through a small army to do so. When they reach the King, the weaker of the two stays behind to hold off the whole army alone, while the other goes in to duel the King in single combat. "The Imperial Guard are not worthy of mention," mention", indeed.
* BrokenBird: Flying Snow. [[spoiler: Fading Moon]] Snow is one. [[spoiler:Fading Moon becomes one.
one.]]
* CentralTheme: "One person's pain is nothing when compared to the suffering of all." In other words, [[spoiler: uniting words: [[spoiler:Uniting a collection of warring kingdoms does far more good than getting taking revenge on your homeland's enemy. Sometimes, submitting to a hated foe is ultimately for the best]].
* ChastityCouple: Snow and Sword, Sword are this in the blue flashback.



** Black: Mystery.
** Red: Deceit.
** Blue: Romance.
** Green: Memory.
** White: Truth.
* ColorWash: The entire film, in obvious fashion.
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: During the green flashback, Flying Snow and Broken Sword [[StormingTheCastle storm the castle]] of the King of Qin. They carve right past three thousand imperial guard, but the King fighting alone poses more of a challenge.
* CoolOldGuy: The master of the Zhao calligraphy school. With arrows raining down on the school and students fleeing in panic, he announces that today they will learn the true spirit of their art, sits down at the front of the room, and calmly begins practicing calligraphy. He's so badass that the students hurry to return to their seats and follow his example.

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** Black: Mystery.
''Black:'' Mystery
** Red: Deceit.
''Red:'' Deceit
** Blue: Romance.
''Blue:'' Romance
** Green: Memory.
''Green:'' Memory
** White: Truth.
''White:'' Truth
* ColorWash: The entire film, film is this, in obvious fashion.
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: During the green flashback, Flying Snow and Broken Sword [[StormingTheCastle storm the castle]] of the King of Qin. They The assassins carve right past through three thousand imperial guard, but guardsman; one-on-one, the King fighting alone poses much more of a challenge.
* CoolOldGuy: The master of the Zhao calligraphy school. With school qualifies. As arrows raining rain down on the school and students fleeing flee in panic, he announces that today they will learn the true spirit of their art, art. He sits down at the front of the room, and then calmly begins practicing calligraphy. He's He is so badass that the students hurry to return to their seats and follow his example.



** There has been some criticism of the [[Creator/MiramaxFilms Miramax]] release of the film for its mistranslation of one of the central ideas in the film, "''tian xia''" (天下), which literally means "all under heaven." During the period in which this film is set, the ancient Chinese people believed that they were at the very center of the universe; the Mandarin term for China is "''zhong guo''" (中国), meaning "central realm," as many believed the region to be between heaven and hell (much like the Germanic Midgard). With that in mind, [[spoiler: Broken Sword begs Nameless that the King of Qin be allowed to succeed]], because the peace he will bring will benefit not just China, but everyone around them (metaphorically) -- "all under heaven" (literally). In this case, the term should be interpreted metaphorically. But as the average American viewer is probably unaware of China's self-conception, mistranslating "''tian xia''" as "our land" is a simple way to avoid having to explain it.

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** There has been some criticism of the [[Creator/MiramaxFilms Miramax]] release of the film for its mistranslation of one of the central ideas in the film, "''tian xia''" (天下), which literally means "all under heaven." During the period in which this film is set, the ancient Chinese people believed that they were at the very center of the universe; the Mandarin term for China is "''zhong guo''" (中国), meaning "central realm," as many believed the region to be between heaven and hell (much like the Germanic Midgard). With that in mind, [[spoiler: Broken Sword begs Nameless that the King of Qin be allowed to succeed]], because the peace he will bring will benefit not just China, but everyone around them (metaphorically) -- "all under heaven" (literally). In this case, the term should be interpreted metaphorically. But as the average American viewer is probably unaware of China's self-conception, mistranslating "''tian xia''" as "our land" is a simple way to avoid having to explain explaining it.



* DeathSeeker: [[spoiler: Nameless. Broken Sword already convinced him not to kill the King, but he knows that he can't live with himself if he doesn't confront him just once. In the end, he willingly submits to the King and lets his soldiers kill him without fighting back]].
* DelayedCausality: During the demonstration of "death within ten paces," Nameless cuts up all the bookshelves in a single move. Naturally, the bookshelves don't actually fall apart until a few seconds after he's returned to the center of the room.

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* DeathSeeker: [[spoiler: Nameless. [[spoiler:Nameless is one. Broken Sword already convinced him Nameless not to kill the King, but he Nameless knows that he can't could not live with himself if he doesn't did not confront him just once. In the end, he Nameless willingly submits to the King and lets allows his soldiers to kill him without fighting back]].
him]].
* DelayedCausality: During the demonstration of "death within ten paces," Nameless cuts up all the bookshelves in a single move. Naturally, the bookshelves don't do not actually fall apart until a few seconds after he's he has returned to the center of the room.



* EvilOverlord: Subverted. The King of Qin is initially presented as an evil overlord, but Broken Sword argues that in unifying China, the King has actually done a great service to the people. Still, the King needs a lesson in humanity to earn his subjects' loyalty. The film was criticized in some circles for being overly kind to the King.

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* EvilOverlord: Subverted. The King of Qin is initially presented as an evil overlord, but Broken Sword argues that in unifying China, the King has actually done a great service to the people. Still, Broken Sword still believes, however, that the King needs a lesson in humanity to earn the loyalty of his subjects' loyalty. subjects. The film was sometimes criticized in some circles for being overly kind to the King.



** When Nameless tells the King about his visit to Broken Sword's calligraphy school, he mentions that there are a surprising number of variations of the calligraphic character for "sword." The King comments that this variation in language causes far too much confusion, and that it would be much better if the kingdoms of China shared a common language. [[spoiler: In the end, Nameless submits to the King specifically because he knows that his efforts will ultimately unify China and bring peace between the kingdoms. Indeed, standardizing the written Chinese language is one of the key achievements by Qin Shi Huang that is specifically referenced at the end of the movie]].
** During the green "memory" scenes: [[spoiler: "The truth of calligraphy has to be intuitively grasped. It is the same with swordsmanship. Both seek to return to a state of simplicity. Gradually, I began to understand."]]

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** When Nameless tells the King about his visit to Broken Sword's calligraphy school, he mentions that there are a surprising number of variations of the calligraphic character for "sword." "sword". The King comments that this says the variation in language causes far too much confusion, and that it would be much better if confusion; he believes the kingdoms of China need a shared a common language. [[spoiler: In [[spoiler:In the end, Nameless submits to the King specifically because he the former knows that his the latter's efforts will ultimately unify China and bring create peace between the kingdoms. Indeed, standardizing Standardizing the written Chinese language is one of the key achievements by Qin Shi Huang that Huang, and it is specifically referenced at the end of the movie]].
movie.]]
** During the green "memory" scenes: [[spoiler: "The [[spoiler:"The truth of calligraphy has to be intuitively grasped. It is the same with swordsmanship. Both seek to return to a state of simplicity. Gradually, I began to understand."]]



** When arrows are raining down on the calligraphy school, one student [[BoomHeadshot takes an arrow to the head]] and died instantly.
** You can briefly see pieces of styrofoam fly about when Broken Sword and Flying Snow chop through the shields of the imperial guard, showing that the props are made of styrofoam to allow the actors to chop them apart easily.

to:

** When the arrows are raining rain down on upon the calligraphy school, one student [[BoomHeadshot takes an arrow to the head]] and died dies instantly.
** You can briefly see pieces of styrofoam fly about when Broken Sword and Flying Snow chop through the shields of the imperial guard, showing that how the props are made of styrofoam to allow so the actors to could chop them apart easily.with ease.



-->"In any war there are heroes on both sides..."
* AHandfulForAnEye: Snow to Moon during their battle. Snow also [[spoiler: stabs Broken Sword from behind her sleeve]] in the blue section.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Nameless and Broken Sword.]]
* HighlyVisibleNinja: Chinese assassins in this case. Broken Sword and Flying Snow are so powerful that they simply carve though the King's entire royal guard and walk right into his throne room, rather than make any pretense of secrecy, as one would normally expect from an assassin.

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-->"In any war war, there are heroes on both sides..."
* AHandfulForAnEye: Snow does this to Moon during their battle. Snow also [[spoiler: stabs [[spoiler:stabs Broken Sword from behind her sleeve]] in the blue section.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Nameless [[spoiler:Nameless and Broken Sword.Sword both make one.]]
* HighlyVisibleNinja: Well, Chinese assassins in this case. Broken Sword and Flying Snow are so powerful that they simply carve though the King's entire royal guard and walk right into his throne room, rather than make any foregoing the pretense of secrecy, as secrecy that one would normally expect from an assassin.



** [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qin_Shi_Huang The King]]. Even the most idealistic interpretation of the movie cannot drag him entirely free of the gravitational pull of the MoralEventHorizon that he crossed in real life. To its credit, it doesn't really try.
** Nameless. The [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jing_Ke actual assassin]] that Nameless is based on merely used deception to get into the throne room, then drew a hidden, poisoned dagger and chased the King around the throne room until the King was able to [[AssassinOutclassin draw his sword and stab him]].
* HobbesWasRight: The Leviathan, specifically in the form of the new Chinese Empire being created by TheConqueror UsefulNotes/QinShiHuangdi is depicted as the best hope for the Chinese people because of the order and peace that it will bring.
* HonorBeforeReason: Just about every character except the King. [[spoiler: Except at the end, when even he is willing to die and actually gives Nameless his sword, despite claiming earlier that he wasn't so noble as to die for idealism, because he discovered Broken Sword understood what he was trying to do.]]

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** [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qin_Shi_Huang The King]]. Even the most idealistic interpretation of the movie cannot drag him entirely free of the gravitational pull of the MoralEventHorizon that he crossed in real life. To But to its credit, it doesn't really the film does not try.
** Nameless. The [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jing_Ke actual assassin]] that upon whom Nameless is based on merely used mere deception to get into the throne room, then drew a hidden, poisoned dagger and chased the King around the throne room until the King was able to could [[AssassinOutclassin draw his sword and stab him]].
* HobbesWasRight: The Leviathan, specifically in the form of the new Chinese Empire being created by TheConqueror UsefulNotes/QinShiHuangdi UsefulNotes/QinShiHuangdi, is depicted as the best hope for the Chinese people because of the order and peace that it will bring.
* HonorBeforeReason: Just about every character does this except the King. [[spoiler: Except [[spoiler:Except at the end, when even he the King is willing to die and actually die--and gives his sword to Nameless his sword, despite claiming for that reason. He had claimed earlier that he wasn't was not so noble as to die for idealism, because he discovered Broken Sword understood what he was trying to do.]]



* ImplausibleFencingPowers: As any wuxia film, the abilities of the warriors are supernatural. At various points, they deflect storms of arrows without getting nicked, chop arrows in half in midair, swordfight on water, and chop through shields effortlessly.
* ImportationExpansion: The opening and closing sequences of the American version was changed. Changes for the opening sequence include the addition of a map of ancient China and a different description; the line "In any war there are heroes on both sides..." is not present on the original Chinese version. Also, the closing sequence have a different description; in the original Chinese version, it was not outright stated that [[spoiler: Nameless was executed as an assassin but buried as a hero]]. That line was presumably added to make it easier for viewers to understand that [[spoiler: Nameless was given a hero's funeral]].
* ImprobableWeaponUser: Flying Snow and Fading Moon. Flying Snow is able to deflect storms of arrows with only her very long sleeves, while in the [[{{Recut}} extended cut]], Fading Moon protects Broken Sword from the arrows barraging the calligraphy school using only a piece of stick.
* InterfaceSpoiler: The English subtitles sort of lessen the visual shock of the fact that [[spoiler: Nameless spared the King]] since his whole sentence appears subbed all at once, while ignoring the pause that he put into his sentence that sets up the big reveal.
* KillEmAll: [[spoiler: All three protagonists are dead at the end.]]

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* ImplausibleFencingPowers: As with any wuxia film, the abilities of the warriors are supernatural. At various points, they deflect storms of arrows without getting nicked, chop slash arrows in half in midair, swordfight on water, and chop through shields effortlessly.
* ImportationExpansion: The opening and closing sequences of the American version was changed. were changed from the original.
**
Changes for the opening sequence include the addition of a map of ancient China and a different description; the line "In any war there are heroes on both sides..." is not present on the original Chinese version. Also, the version.
** The
closing sequence have has a different description; in description. In the original Chinese version, it was not outright stated that [[spoiler: Nameless [[spoiler:Nameless was executed as an assassin but buried as a hero]]. That line was presumably added to make it easier for viewers to understand that [[spoiler: Nameless [[spoiler:Nameless was given a hero's funeral]].
* ImprobableWeaponUser: Flying Snow and Fading Moon. Flying Snow is able to deflect storms of arrows with only her very long sleeves, while and in the [[{{Recut}} extended cut]], Fading Moon protects Broken Sword from the arrows barraging the calligraphy school using only a piece of stick.
* InterfaceSpoiler: The English subtitles sort of lessen the visual shock of the fact that [[spoiler: Nameless [[spoiler:Nameless spared the King]] since his whole sentence appears subbed all at once, while ignoring the pause that he put puts into his sentence that sets up the big reveal.
* KillEmAll: [[spoiler: All [[spoiler:All three protagonists are dead at the end.]]



* KnifeOutline: The imperial archers shoot so many arrows at a character that the ones that don't hit form a "shadow" of arrows on the wall behind him.

to:

* KnifeOutline: The King's imperial archers shoot so many arrows at a one character that the ones that don't arrows which fail to hit form a "shadow" of arrows on the wall behind him.them.



* LonelyAtTheTop: The King of Qin refers to himself as ''gua ren'' (寡人), literally meaning "lonely person."

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* LonelyAtTheTop: The King of Qin refers to himself as ''gua ren'' (寡人), literally meaning "lonely person."person".



* ManlyTears: Shed by the King for [[spoiler: Broken Sword and Nameless.]]
* MessyHair: During the red flashback, for both Flying Snow and Broken Sword.

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* ManlyTears: Shed by the The King sheds these for [[spoiler: Broken [[spoiler:Broken Sword and Nameless.]]
Nameless]].
* MessyHair: During the red flashback, for both Both Flying Snow and Broken Sword.Sword have this during the red flashback.



* MundaneMadeAwesome: Calligraphy, which is linked to both bravery and swordsmanship. At the calligraphy school, the head teacher insists that the students make a last stand practicing calligraphy as arrows rain down on them. Broken Sword's swordsmanship is directly linked to his skill at calligraphy. During the battle at the school, Broken Sword casually practices calligraphy amidst the downpour of arrows, and later majestically paints a banner.
* NoNameGiven: Nameless was orphaned at a young age and was never given a name. As a result, people just call him "Nameless."
* NotSoDifferent: The King and Broken Sword. [[spoiler: Demonstrated when the King can interpret Broken Sword's calligraphy while Nameless cannot.]]
* ObiWanMoment: [[spoiler: Nameless.]]
* OneManArmy: Nameless and Flying Snow have the ability to block and deflect storms of arrows fired from a massive army utilizing nothing but a sword and some very long sleeves, respectively. Also, three years ago, Broken Sword and Flying Snow cut through thousands of palace guards as if they were cardboard all on their own in an effort to kill the King.
* ProperlyParanoid: The King states that everyone is out to get him. And he's right.

to:

* MundaneMadeAwesome: Calligraphy, which is linked to both bravery and swordsmanship. At the calligraphy school, the head teacher insists that the students make a last stand practicing calligraphy as arrows rain down on them. Broken Sword's swordsmanship is directly linked to his skill at calligraphy. During the battle at the school, Broken Sword casually practices calligraphy amidst the downpour of arrows, and arrows; he later majestically paints a majestic banner.
* NoNameGiven: Nameless was orphaned at a young age and was never given a name. As a result, people just call him "Nameless."
"Nameless".
* NotSoDifferent: The King and Broken Sword. [[spoiler: Demonstrated [[spoiler:This is demonstrated when the King can interpret Broken Sword's calligraphy while Nameless cannot.]]
* ObiWanMoment: [[spoiler: Nameless.]]
[[spoiler:Nameless]]
* OneManArmy: OneManArmy:
**
Nameless and Flying Snow have the ability to block and deflect storms of arrows fired from a massive army utilizing with nothing but a sword and some very long sleeves, respectively. Also, three sleeves (respectively).
** Three
years ago, prior to Nameless's arrival at the palace, Broken Sword and Flying Snow both cut through thousands of palace guards as if they were cardboard all on their own in as part of an effort attempt to kill the King.
* ProperlyParanoid: The King states that says everyone is out to get him. And Turns out, he's right.



* RashomonStyle: The ''whole movie''. Different versions of the story are displayed in the form of [[ColourCodedForYourConvenience different-colored]] flashbacks.
* TheReveal: Midway through the film, [[spoiler: we learn that Nameless was lying about his entire story, and that he's in league with the assassins. The King then narrates what he think happened, and then Nameless proceeds to describe what ''actually'' happened.]]
* RousseauWasRight: There are no truly "evil" characters in this film; all of them are trying to make the world a peaceful and happy place, the only way they know how.
* RuleOfCool: Good grief.
* SavingTheWorldWithArt: Broken Sword achieves enlightenment through his calligraphy, which in turn inspires the AntiVillain Emperor in the end.
* SceneryPorn: The movie's just plain ''gorgeous''.
** Of note is a sword fight taking place on (yes, ''on'') a lake that is perfectly still and gives reflections like mirrors. This is a real lake in China, but its surface is only that placid about three hours a day. Combine this with the set-ups required for WireFu and they could get maybe two shots done during those three hours.
** There's also the fight between Broken Sword and the King, where the King realizes Broken Sword is lurking in the banners in the court, and cuts them down, and they all fall to the ground in the most majestic way possible.
* ScheherezadeGambit: Nameless is given a rare audience with the King to tell him his story about how he defeated Zhao's three most powerful assassins. The story is [[spoiler: only an excuse to be given an audience with the King so Nameless could assassinate him]].
* ScryVsScry: Nameless and Sky's duel plays out entirely in their minds, save for the final blow.
* SherlockScan: [[spoiler: The King keeps his throne room filled with candles so that he can determine his guests' trustworthiness by studying the candle flames; if they're breathing hard enough to visibly move the flames, it's a sign that they're up to no good.]]
* ShownTheirWork: When the King learns that there are [[UsefulNotes/ChineseDialectsAndAccents 19 different ways]] to write the word "sword," he comments that this is bothersome and he should do something about it. Which he did.
* SingleTear: The King of Qin sheds one tear when he realizes the only man who understands him is his enemy.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Disputed. The film can be seen as a treatise on having faith in [[RousseauWasRight fundamental human decency]], which is quite idealistic. It can also be seen as urging submission to government authority because peace is worth more than liberty, which is quite cynical.
* SmallRoleBigImpact: Long Sky's only real scene is where Nameless confronts him, but much of the plot hinges on that. It's what first puts Nameless on the King's radar, having defeated one of the greatest warriors in the land, it's his defeat that lets Nameless drive a wedge between Long Sky and Broken Sword in the first scenario, and in the [[spoiler:real scenario his defeat and survival are what proves Nameless's skill with the sword]]. Events such as Nameless's meeting and discussion with Sky are narrated to the audience and his role in [[spoiler:Nameless's assassination plot]] is conveyed without him being present.
* SupernaturalMartialArts: Stopping entire volleys of arrows, walking on water, etc...
* StormingTheCastle: See "Conservation of Ninjutsu" above.
* ThanatosGambit: Nameless and Broken Sword both contrive to use their own deaths to further their goals.
* TogetherInDeath: [[spoiler: Broken Sword and Flying Snow.]]
* TwoGuysAndAGirl: The three assassins; especially in the Red flashback.
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: [[spoiler: Broken Sword's argument is that a peaceful, united China is worth the bloodshed and conquest that brings it together]].

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* RashomonStyle: The ''whole movie''. Practically the whole movie is this. Different versions of the Nameless's story are displayed in the form of [[ColourCodedForYourConvenience different-colored]] color-coded]] flashbacks.
* TheReveal: Midway through through, the film, [[spoiler: we learn film reveals that Nameless [[spoiler:Nameless was lying about his entire story, and that he's story--he is in league with the assassins. The King then narrates what he think happened, and then after which Nameless proceeds to describe describes what ''actually'' actually happened.]]
* RousseauWasRight: There are The film has no truly "evil" characters in this film; all characters--all of them are trying to make the world a peaceful and happy place, place in the only way they know how.
* RuleOfCool: Good grief.
This film practically runs on it.
* SavingTheWorldWithArt: Broken Sword achieves enlightenment through his calligraphy, which in turn eventually inspires the AntiVillain Emperor in King.
* SceneryPorn:
** One of
the end.
* SceneryPorn: The movie's just plain ''gorgeous''.
** Of note is a sword fight taking
film's many swordfights takes place on (yes, ''on'') a on--yes, ''on''--a lake that is perfectly still and gives reflections like mirrors. This is a real lake in China, but its China; the surface is only that placid for about three hours a day. Combine this with With the set-ups required for WireFu and they WireFu, the filmmakers could get maybe two shots done during those three hours.
** There's also During the fight between Broken Sword and the King, where the King realizes Broken Sword is lurking in behind the banners in the court, and his court. The King cuts them down, and down the banners; they all fall to the ground in the most majestic way possible.
* ScheherezadeGambit: Nameless is given a rare audience with the King to tell him his a story about how he a lowly prefect defeated Zhao's three most powerful assassins. The story is [[spoiler: only an [[spoiler:an excuse to be given receive an audience with the King so Nameless could assassinate him]].
as part of an assassination plot]].
* ScryVsScry: The duel between Nameless and Sky's duel Long Sky plays out entirely in their minds, save for the final blow.
* SherlockScan: [[spoiler: The [[spoiler:The King keeps his throne room filled with candles so that he can determine his guests' the trustworthiness of his guests by studying the candle flames; if they're flames. If a guest is breathing hard enough to visibly move the flames, it's the King takes that as a sign that they're up to no good.of devious intent.]]
* ShownTheirWork: When the King learns that there are [[UsefulNotes/ChineseDialectsAndAccents 19 different ways]] to write the word "sword," "sword", he comments that this openly says it is bothersome and claims he should do something about it. Which (Which he did.
did.)
* SingleTear: The King of Qin sheds one tear when he realizes the only man who understands him is his enemy.
one who wants to kill him.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Disputed. The film can could be seen as a treatise on having faith in [[RousseauWasRight fundamental human decency]], which is quite idealistic. It can could also be seen as urging a treatise for submission to government authority because and the belief that peace is worth more than liberty, which is quite cynical.
* SmallRoleBigImpact: Long Sky's Sky has only real scene is where Nameless confronts him, but scene--his fight with Nameless--but much of the plot hinges on that. It's what first that one scene. It puts Nameless on the King's radar, thanks to having defeated bested one of the greatest warriors in the land, it's his land. That defeat that lets Nameless drive a wedge between Long Sky and Broken Sword in the first scenario, and in scenario. In the [[spoiler:real scenario his scenario, Long Sky's defeat and survival are what proves Nameless's skill with the sword]]. Events such as Nameless's meeting and discussion with Long Sky are narrated to the audience and his role in [[spoiler:Nameless's assassination plot]] is conveyed without him being present.
* SupernaturalMartialArts: Stopping entire volleys The protagonists all display examples of arrows, walking on water, etc...
this.
* StormingTheCastle: See "Conservation of Ninjutsu" above.
Broken Sword and Flying Snow do this so they can attempt to assassinate the King.
* ThanatosGambit: Nameless and Broken Sword both contrive plan to use their own deaths to further in a way that furthers their goals.
* TogetherInDeath: [[spoiler: Broken [[spoiler:Broken Sword and Flying Snow.]]
* TwoGuysAndAGirl: The three assassins; assassins, especially in the Red red flashback.
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: [[spoiler: Broken Sword's argument is that [[spoiler:Broken Sword believes a peaceful, united China is worth the bloodshed and conquest that brings will bring it together]].



* WorldOfBadass: Just about everyone in the film is a supreme badass.
* WorthyOpponent: [[spoiler: The King of Qin recognizes Nameless as this when his assassination attempt fails]]. Sky to the marshals attempting to arrest him; they are willing to let him walk off after he defeats them and spares their lives.
* YouKilledMyFather: Flying Snow's DisappearedDad was a Zhao general and fell in battle against the King. Hence why Snow is so embittered.

to:

* WorldOfBadass: Just about everyone in the film with a speaking role is a supreme badass.
* WorthyOpponent: [[spoiler: The [[spoiler:The King of Qin recognizes Nameless as this when his assassination attempt fails]]. Long Sky is this to the marshals attempting to arrest him; they are willing to him--they let him walk off after he defeats them and spares their lives.
* YouKilledMyFather: Flying Snow's DisappearedDad was a Zhao general and who fell in battle against the King. Hence why Snow King, which is so embittered.the main reason for Snow's bitterness.
10th Sep '17 1:20:22 AM DrPsyche
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Added DiffLines:

* SmallRoleBigImpact: Long Sky's only real scene is where Nameless confronts him, but much of the plot hinges on that. It's what first puts Nameless on the King's radar, having defeated one of the greatest warriors in the land, it's his defeat that lets Nameless drive a wedge between Long Sky and Broken Sword in the first scenario, and in the [[spoiler:real scenario his defeat and survival are what proves Nameless's skill with the sword]]. Events such as Nameless's meeting and discussion with Sky are narrated to the audience and his role in [[spoiler:Nameless's assassination plot]] is conveyed without him being present.
13th Jun '17 9:21:53 PM ImperialMajestyXO
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** Nameless. The [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jing_Ke actual assassin]] that Nameless is based on merely used deception to get into the throne room, then drew a hidden, poisoned dagger and chased the King around the throne room until the King was able to draw his sword and stab him.

to:

** Nameless. The [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jing_Ke actual assassin]] that Nameless is based on merely used deception to get into the throne room, then drew a hidden, poisoned dagger and chased the King around the throne room until the King was able to [[AssassinOutclassin draw his sword and stab him.him]].
31st Oct '16 1:08:31 PM Morgenthaler
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* BadAss: ''Everyone''.
13th Sep '16 12:40:57 AM NikoMoldova
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* BloodlessCarnage: Many people throughout the film are stabbed, chopped, or shot with arrows. Yet not a single drop a blood is ever seen.

to:

* BloodlessCarnage: Many people throughout the film are stabbed, chopped, or shot with arrows. Yet not a single drop a very little blood is ever seen.seen.
** In fact, there are only two scenes with any blood whatsoever; [[spoiler: under Broken Sword after he's killed by Flying Snow in the first version of the story and on the sword Fading Moon throws at Flying Snow the scene after.]]
31st Aug '16 8:02:18 AM Mdumas43073
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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hero.jpg]]

to:

[[quoteright:350:http://static.[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hero.jpg]]
20th Jul '16 1:25:30 AM Morgenthaler
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* KillingIntent: The candle flames in front of the King. He's DangerouslyGenreSavvy enough to figure things out from there.

to:

* KillingIntent: The candle flames in front of the King. He's DangerouslyGenreSavvy smart enough to figure things out from there.
15th Jan '16 10:16:14 AM Anddrix
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* ImportationExpansion: The opening and closing sequences of the American version was changed. Changes for the opening sequence include the addition of a map of ancient China and a different description; the line "In any war there are heroes on both sides..." is not present on the original Chinese version. Also, the closing sequence have a different description; in the original Chinese version, it was not outright stated that [[spoiler: Nameless was executed as an assassin but buried as a hero]]. That line was presumably added to make it [[ViewersAreMorons easier for viewers to understand]] that [[spoiler: Nameless was given a hero's funeral]].

to:

* ImportationExpansion: The opening and closing sequences of the American version was changed. Changes for the opening sequence include the addition of a map of ancient China and a different description; the line "In any war there are heroes on both sides..." is not present on the original Chinese version. Also, the closing sequence have a different description; in the original Chinese version, it was not outright stated that [[spoiler: Nameless was executed as an assassin but buried as a hero]]. That line was presumably added to make it [[ViewersAreMorons easier for viewers to understand]] understand that [[spoiler: Nameless was given a hero's funeral]].
23rd Dec '15 12:18:38 PM Hadjorim
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* AnachronismStew: In the North American promotional poster, the sword held by Nameless was [[http://i.imgur.com/rV5o8ki.jpg replaced]] by a Japanese katana. Katanas were invented around 1600 years after the period in which this film is set.

to:

* AnachronismStew: In the North American promotional poster, the sword held by Nameless was [[http://i.imgur.com/rV5o8ki.jpg replaced]] by a Japanese katana. Katanas Firstly, katanas were invented around 1600 years after the period in which this film is set.set. Secondly, it goes without saying that the katana is Japanese, and the entire film is Chinese.
23rd Dec '15 12:34:03 AM spirasen
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Film.Hero