While watching “Hero” at the theater with my wife a few months ago, it suddenly struck me why this movie was so popular in China.
Let me begin with a brief summary of the plot. If you haven’t seen this movie and plan on watching it soon, stop reading now. It is set way back in Chinese history when seven kingdoms were fighting amongst each other to dominate the others. Nameless, the hero of Hero, is sent to kill the leader of the largest, most powerful kingdom. Nameless wants revenge because his father was killed fighting the warlord’s forces (I think – it’s been a few months). He gains a private audience with the warlord and has the chance to kill him, but doesn’t after deciding a unified China under the warlord’s rule is better than the prolonged struggle among the kingdoms should the warlord die. He lets the warlord’s soldiers kill him in the end.
So do I think that revenge for his dad’s death is the only thing that matters? No. I think the plot is a thinly disguised pro-communist promotional tool. Individuals don’t matter when compared to the greater good. And neither do individual cultures, their histories, or beliefs. Safety and prosperity are best achieved by the repression of individuality under a strong totalitarian rule.
No wonder this movie was the highest-grossing film in Chinese cinematic history. It makes the populace feel better about living under a regime that represses and persecutes anything that doesn’t receive the government’s seal of approval. And, in so doing, it denigrates the spirit of individuality which still flourishes in America (much to the lib dems’ chagrin).