Hero (2002) - full transcript

In ancient China, before the reign of the first emperor, warring factions throughout the Six Kingdoms plot to assassinate the most powerful ruler, Qin. When a minor official defeats Qin's three principal enemies, he is summoned to the palace to tell Qin the story of his surprising victory.

I was orphaned at a young age
and was never given a name.

PeopIe simpIy caIIed me NameIess.

With no famiIy name to Iive up to,
I devoted myseIf to the sword.

I spent 10 years perfecting
unique skiIIs as a swordsman.

The King of Qin
has summoned me to court,

for what I have accompIished
has astonished the kingdom.

By order of his majesty,

we have traveled overnight to bring
the warrior to see you, Prime Minister.

Sky, Snow and Broken Sword.

For 10 years
these three assassins from Zhao

have repeatedly plotted
to kill his majesty,

so he has not known
a single peaceful night's sleep.

Today we discover that a hero
from our great kingdom of Qin

has single-handedly
wiped out the enemy.

From now on his majesty
can once more sleep without fear!

His majesty's courtiers
congratulate him.

Heaven has sent a great warrior
to vanquish the assassins!

By his majesty's command,
summon the warrior!

When you enter the palace,

always remain 100 paces
from the throne

or you will be killed without question.

Please do not forget!

For 10 years,

no one's approached
within 100 paces of the throne.

-Do you know why?
-Assassins were everywhere.


As long as there are assassins,
I cannot remove my armor.

Now that you have rooted out this evil
on our behalf,

what do you desire as a reward?

To rid great Qin of its enemies
is my duty. I desire no reward.

In accordance with Qin law,
you must be properly rewarded.

Sky's silver spear

has wounded untold numbers of
our brave Qin warriors.

Pronounce my edict!

By order of his majesty,
he who vanquishes the assassin Sky

will be awarded 1,000 pieces of gold
and authority over 1,000 households.

Advance within 20 paces of the throne
and drink with his majesty!

According to my informants,
you are a citizen of Qin.

Your humble servant Nameless,
Prefect of Lan Meng district.

A mere local Prefect! With authority
over no more than 10 square miles!

This is the lowest rank of office
in our kingdom.

What enabled you to overcome
the three deadly assassins from Zhao?

I dealt with them one at a time.

Tell me in detail.

Perhaps your majesty has heard that
Broken Sword and Snow were lovers?

Indeed I have.

And was your majesty aware

that they had not spoken
to each other for three years?

Three years without words?
Why was that?

Snow had spent one night with Sky
as lovers.

Broken Sword took this to heart.

Why have I not heard about this?

It took your servant much effort
to uncover this secret.

To create a rift between
Snow and Broken Sword,

I had first to dispose of Sky.

I am beginning to fathom your strategy.

Your majesty is most perceptive.

What did you use to defeat Sky?

The sword.

Within Lan Meng it is my responsibiIity
to arrest criminaIs.

On the fifth day of the sixth month
Sky appeared in a chess house.

I had heard

that he was a Iover of chess
and music, and was a frequent visitor.

The seven elite guards
from Qin Court...

We have been trailing you for days.
You are under arrest!

Reveal your weapon
and identify yourself!


The local Prefect.
What can I do for you?

This region is under my control!


You are a wanted criminal!
I am here to arrest you!

Sir, would you be kind enough
to play us another tune?

MartiaI arts and music
share the same principIes.

Both wrestIe with compIex chords
and rare meIodies.

We stood facing each other
for a Iong time,

neither of us made a move,

whiIe our combat unfoIded
in the depths of our minds.

How swift your sword must be!

I prided myself in knowing
every corner of our land.

Yet I was unaware that

within the small district of Lan Meng
there is such a talent like you.

Broken Sword.

Flying Snow.

By edict of his majesty:

the assassins Broken Sword and Flying
Snow have always worked as partners.

He who eliminates either one of them

is awarded 1 0,000 pieces of gold
and authority over 5,000 households.

Advance within 1 0 paces
and drink with his majesty!

Three years ago Snow and Broken
Sword stormed our palace together.

Three thousand soldiers
were unable to resist them.

I have since had this great hall emptied,
so there is nowhere to hide!

Are you saying that your sword
was swifter than theirs combined?


So how did you manage
to overcome them?

I was disguised as a citizen of Zhao
and went searching for them there.

It was rumored they were hiding
in a smaII caIIigraphy schooI.

I arrived as your majesty's troops

PeopIe fled in terror.

OnIy the students
and their master remained.

Why have you come at such a time?

Who are you?

I am from a small province in Zhao.

My father's dying wish was to acquire
a scroll from your prestigious school.

I fear this may be the last day
of our school.

My honorable guest,
whose calligraphy do you seek?

Master Broken Sword's.

Broken Sword's power
was immediateIy apparent to me.

Rumor had it that his martiaI arts skiIIs
were rooted in his caIIigraphy.

ln order to discover the swordsman,

I had first to study the caIIigrapher.

-Which character do you seek?

My honored guest is fond of swords?

I am merely fulfilling
my father's last wish.

What dimension of scroll?

Eight feet.

A scroll of that size requires red ink.

Master wishes to borrow some red ink
from the mistress.

Master wishes to borrow some red ink.

Has mistress heard my request?

Master wishes to borrow some red ink.

Tell him to come himself.

Your student respectfully requests
some red ink.

Broken Sword had not even
started on the scroII

when your majesty's troops arrived
at the city gates.



Your majesty's army
has never Iost a war

because they never underestimate
their enemy. Their tactics are briIIiant,

and the archers are peerless
in their range and accuracy.

Wherever they venture
their reputation precedes them.

Storm! Storm! Storm!

You must all remember

the arrows of Qin may be powerful.

They may penetrate our cities
and destroy our kingdom.

But they can never annihilate
our written words!


you will all learn
the true spirit of our art.

Storm! Storm! Storm!

The Zhao people,
did they really not move?

People from Zhao
are particularly strong in spirit.

You asked for the character "Sword."
Why was it difficult to do?

There are normally 1 9 ways
of writing this character.

What I requested from Broken Sword
was the 20th variation.

Calligraphy and swordplay

both rely on merging
the power of the wrist

with the spirit in the heart.

This 20th variation would reveal
the essence of his swordsmanship.

To think that one character
can be written 1 9 different ways!

How can people communicate when
they do not understand each other?

Once I have conquered
the six Kingdoms

and suppressed all other
rebellious states,

I shall rid the country
of these hopeless confusions,

keep one unified language
for the whole land.

Wouldn't that be something?

Is your majesty not stopping
after defeating the six Kingdoms?

The six Kingdoms are nothing!

I intend to lead our army
to every corner of this land

until we have established
a vast and powerful empire!

You must be mistress Flying Snow.

-Why are you leaving?
-I am going to fend off the arrows.

You are not needed. Please retire.

The archers of Qin are legendary.

Mistress Snow may not be able
to repel them on her own.

Storm! Storm! Storm!

You were quite brilliant.

Mistress Snow is far superior.

You have not come for the calligraphy.

Who are you?

I have brought something to show you.

Please meet me in the library
at midnight.

-Beautiful calligraphy.
-Beautiful swordplay.

But you have not seen me
use my sword.

Without your sword
this scroll would not exist.

Please meet me in the library
at midnight.

I have something to show you.

WhiIe severaI hundred thousand
Qin troops

were preparing for the next onsIaught,

I spent the night
contempIating the scroII,

hoping to discover the secret
behind Broken Sword's skiIIs.

You say this calligraphy
contains the mystery of swordplay,

but I cannot see anything unusual here.

The brush and the sword
are fundamentally connected.

Their mystery is only revealed to those
who can perceive the connection.

-And you can?
-Not entirely.

Then how were you able to challenge
the two of them?

-Sky fell by your sword?

Who are you? Why have you come?

I am a citizen of Qin.
I have a message from Sky.


Sky said he had always lived his life
without burden or responsibility.

Only one person had ever
touched his heart.

-Flying Snow.

Sky said he was certain
Snow would avenge his death.

If you agree to a duel, meet me
at the Qin army encampment tomorrow.

Leave now.

Go on!

I know you saw us!

I deliberately wanted you to see us!

You are no longer in my heart!

We are both very foolish.

I am not going to fight with you.

Please leave.

I am going to kill you
and avenge my master!

Since you want to die,
I shall assist you.

What are you laughing at?

What you did last night.
It was unbelievably stupid.

When we fought,
I couId see that my pIan had worked.

She was emotionaI and agitated,
unabIe to focus.

I defeated her easiIy.

Who would have thought that
Broken Sword and Snow

were so emotionally fragile.

You are saying that you won
by setting them against each other?


And the reason they became enemies
was because they were jealous?


Your story appears to make sense,

but in my opinion you have
underestimated one person.



Would you like to know what kind of
impression they made on me?

Three years ago, I had once
fought them face to face.

I found them both
honorable and exceptional,

hardly the narrow-minded people
you say.

That is why Snow and Sky
did not have an affair.

Snow and Broken Sword
were not enemies.

In other words, your entire story is a lie!

Only one thing was true.

Sky must have known one of you.

Which one?


I suspect you and Sky were allies.

You were able to defeat him
for one reason only.

What reason?

He lost to you deliberately!

ln order to assassinate me,
the two of you staged a fight,

using my guards as witnesses.

Laying this trap was not difficuIt.

The hard part was in persuading Sky
to pIace his Iife in your hands.

Your sword may be swift,
but not enough to defeat Sky.

Yet he wiIIingIy feII under your bIade.

What courage, what gaIIantry!

So Sky became your first accompIice.

Sky was a proud man, who regarded
himself without equal in this land.

What made him think that you would
succeed where he had failed?

Unless, in order to assassinate me,

you had spent the last 10 years
honing a unique skill,

a lethal maneuver
that no one can counter?

Having defeated Sky, you could already
come within 20 paces of the throne.

Why did you need
Broken Sword and Snow as well?

I suspect you have to be within
1 0 paces of your target to be effective.

So, you required one more accomplice
to help you advance another 1 0 paces!

I beIieve that even though
Broken Sword and Snow

had never met Sky.

They understood at once
why he had agreed to your pIan.

How far am I from the bookshelves?

-About 1 0 paces.
-Good. Ten paces it is.

I only need one of you to help me.
Please decide between yourselves.

Tomorrow morning,
at the Qin army encampment.

How swift his sword is!


Sky was one of the greatest warriors
of our times.

Yet he was willing
to give his life to this man.

That is why he has the ability
to assassinate Qin's king.

We must go tomorrow.

To go is to die.

Then let us die together.

You are one step ahead of me.

I fear I have inflicted too deep a wound.

I should have been the one to go.

I want you to go on living.

If you died, how could I live?

Promise me you will live well
when I have gone.

Say it!

I will.

Moon will soon be here
to take care of you.

I should go.

Your servant Nameless,
the Prefect of Lan Meng.

I have come to Zhao
to catch this assassin.

Please let me fight her alone.

This is a dangerous criminal
wanted by his majesty.

Now that she has been found,
it is my duty to arrest her.

I have a prior agreement
with the assassin to fight her alone.

If I am unable to succeed,
please feel free to step in.

Please grant me permission to proceed.

Unsheathe your sword!

Make your move now!

I die willingly for our cause.
Please make your move!

How swift your sword is!

I suspect you had a battIe
with Broken Sword as weII.

Like the fight between you and Sky,

you and Broken Sword fought
in the depth of your minds.

Except neither of you
wanted to harm the other,

but were content to go through
the honorabIe motions.

This was aIso a tribute to Snow.

Master asked me to give you his sword.

Why has he done this?

Master and Snow will always
be together in life or in death,

and their swords will never be apart.

Master asked me to give you his sword
to help assassinate Qin's king.

Sky, Broken Sword and Snow
gave themseIves in different ways,

in order that you couId come
within 10 paces of me.

All three were willing
to entrust their lives to you.

Surely one can ask no more of a friend.

That is why you are the most
dangerous assassin of them all!

-How did your majesty figure this out?
-The candle flames in front of me

can sense your murderous intent.

The three of them, and you,

were all willing to die for your cause.

I am ashamed to say
I cannot measure up to your courage!

Your majesty has seen
through our plan.

I have only just worked it out.

Why else would I have allowed you
to come this close?

A man from Qin would never
try to kill me. Who are you?

I am a man of Zhao.

My family was killed by the Qin army.

Orphaned, I was taken in
by a family here in Qin.

Ten years ago I discovered
my real identity,

and decided to assassinate you.

So you are here on behalf of Zhao.

I understand now.

I presume you have
perfected a lethal move?

Just as your majesty suggests,
there is indeed such a move.

-And what is it?
-Within 10 paces I cannot fail.

Within 10 paces? I congratulate you!

My guards are outside,
100 paces away,

while you are only 10 paces from me.

It would seem that
I shall not escape my fate today.

And yet you hesitate?

Your majesty is most perceptive.


you have also
underestimated somebody.

-Broken Sword.

It was imperative that I proved to them

that my sword was not onIy swift,
but perfectIy accurate.

Within 1 0 paces I can strike
with surgical precision.

The sword will enter and exit the body
avoiding all vital organs,

so the wound is deep but not fatal.

I respectfully request one of you
to take such a blow from me

in order to deceive Qin's king.

To take such a blow from you
asks a great deal of us.

-How is Sky now?
-Almost fully recovered.

He certainly had faith in your skills.

The security around the king is
impenetrable. This is the only way.

The imperial guards
are not worth a mention.

The King of Qin should have died
three years ago.

What happened?

I did not go through with it.

The King of Qin must not be killed.

-Broken Sword said that?

-I asked the same question.

What was his answer?

He was unwilling to explain on that day.

Sky, Snow, Broken Sword.

Of the three, only Broken Sword
was my match.

That was why

what he said next

worried me greatly.

As long as I am alive I shall prevent
you from assassinating the king.

I am willing to help you.

Three years ago, somebody wasted
a golden opportunity.

This time, we must not fail.

Tomorrow morning, I shall meet you
at the Qin encampment.

I would like to ask a favor.

Help me to fight him now.


What are you waiting for?

AIthough I had agreed to heIp Snow,

it did not seem honorabIe
to attack Broken Sword.

I found myseIf unabIe to make a move,

aIthough we both knew that

if we did not stop Broken Sword,
we wouId have no chance of success.

Moon, stop!

You are no match for him! Let it go!

I knew you would do this.

Now you cannot stand in my way.

Even wounded I can still stop you.

In that case I shall have to kill you.

I worry I may have wounded him
too deeply.

With mistress' medicine Master
should be out of danger in a day.

-Have you delivered the medicine yet?
-I tended Master's wound myself.

After the duel today, take my sword
and follow the Qin army into court.

I will.

The Qin guards
will not ill-treat a servant.

If the assassination is successful,
return with a red flag.

If it fails, a yellow one.

If mistress meets with misfortune
at the duel, what would be the point?

When I look down from heaven,

the red flag will bring
a smile to my lips.

-How is Snow?
-She is recovering.

I am here without her knowledge.

You once said as long as you are here
you would try to stop me.

Abandon your plan
to assassinate the king.

-Do you know I am from Zhao?
-So am I.

-Does Qin intend to destroy Zhao?

-Is the King of Qin an enemy of Zhao?

Then whom do you speak for?

How can you call yourself
a man of Zhao?

Snow asked me
the same question once.

The year we met I was a wanderer
with no home to call my own.

She was the daughter of
the great generaI Zhao Zhen,

who Iost his Iife
during a battIe against Qin.

Snow inherited his sword.

She had vowed to avenge her
father's death. I wanted to heIp her.

CaIIigraphy and swordpIay share
the same source and principIes.

So we practiced caIIigraphy every day,

in the hope that it wouId refine
our skiIIs, and increase our power.

Snow knew I had been rootIess
since childhood,

Iiving nowhere and everywhere.

She often said to me, once
we had succeeded in kiIIing the king,

she wouId take me back to her home.

She said no swords existed there,
and no swordsmen.

There wouId onIy be
a man and a woman.

The truth of caIIigraphy
has to be intuitiveIy grasped.

It is the same with swordpIay.

Both seek to return
to a state of simpIicity.

GraduaIIy I began to understand.

Three years ago,
I reached the peak of my training.

Snow feIt it was time
to attempt the assassination.

Together we stormed the paIace.

Snow asked me
why did I not go through with our pIan.

I toId her the King of Qin
must not be kiIIed.

This was something I had come
to reaIize through studying caIIigraphy.

Because I spared the king,
Snow turned her back on me.

-Please abort your plan.

Was all your training
motivated by hatred and revenge?

That's right.

For 1 0 years, I worked relentlessly
without a moment's rest.

-What will it take to dissuade you?
-You will have to kill me.

-So you are determined to go ahead?

In that case
I shall make you a gift of two words.

These words reflect what is in my heart.
Please think again.

Moon, give my sword
to the nameless hero.

Just as Snow and I
will always be together,

our swords will never be apart.

Master Nameless,

even though I am only a lowly servant,
please permit me a few words.

I have served my master
since I was eight.

From him I learnt the martial arts
and how to live with principles.

My master is never wrong.

What he wrote must be important.

Master Nameless,
please consider his advice carefully.

Which two words
did Broken Sword write?

"Our Land."

Broken Sword said for years
there has been continuous warfare,

causing huge suffering to the people.

Only your majesty has the power
to bring peace by uniting our land.

He hoped that for the sake of
the greater good,

I would abandon my plan to kill you.

Broken Sword also said,
"One person's pain is nothing

"when compared to the suffering of all."

The conflict between Zhao and Qin

is nothing when compared
with peace for all.

Who would have thought an assassin
would understand me the best!

Alone in my position
I have endured endless criticism,

endless attempts on my life.

No one has ever grasped
what I have been trying to do.

Even my own court
regards me as a tyrant.

And yet, Broken Sword,
a man I barely knew,

was able to see clearly,

what is truly in my heart.

I want to know,

without a sword,
how do you intend to kill me?

By taking yours.

For 1 0 years this sword
has accompanied me to every battle.

To have been understood
by a man such as Broken Sword

allows me to face death
without fear or regret.

Let the good of our country

guide your decision!

I have just come to a realization!

This scroll by Broken Sword contains
no secrets of his swordsmanship.

What this reveals is his highest ideal.

In the first stage, man and sword
become one and each other.

Here, even a blade of grass
can be used as a lethal weapon.

In the next stage, the sword resides
not in the hand, but in the heart.

Even without a weapon,

the warrior can slay his enemy
from 1 00 paces.

But the ultimate ideal is

when the sword disappears altogether.

The warrior embraces all around him.

The desire to kill no longer exists.

Only peace remains.

Your Majesty,
I have now completed my mission.

Because of my decision today,
many will die,

and your majesty will go on living.

A dead man begs you never to forget

the ultimate ideal for a warrior.

Nameless came within 1 0 paces
of the king.

He could not have failed.

There can be only one explanation.

He must have given up willingly.

What did you say to him?

I wrote two words.

-Which two words?
-"Our Land."

-Is that all there is in your heart?
-There is also you.

-I don't believe you.
-How can I convince you?

Draw your sword!

You have killed Nameless,

betrayed Sky, and destroyed Zhao.

Draw your sword!

When we first met,
you asked me to draw my sword then.

-Is the sword the only answer?
-I just want you to draw your sword.

Why did you not defend yourself?

So you would finally believe me.

I have always wanted
to go home with you.

That will not happen now.

On your own,
you must take good care of yourself.

Why didn't you block my sword?

Why didn't you block it?

Why didn't you?

No more struggle.

I shall take you home now,

to our home.

Your Majesty, permission to execute?
Permission to execute?

Permission to execute?

Your Majesty, permission to execute?
Your Majesty, permission to execute?

Permission to execution?

He conspired to assassinate.

This man cannot be trusted!
He tried to kill you!

Do not spare him!

This is the sacred law of Qin!

If your majesty is to unite the land,

this man has to be made
an example of!

Your Majesty, execute him!

Your Majesty, execute him!
Your Majesty, execute him!

Your Majesty, execute him!

Your Majesty, execute him!
Your Majesty, execute him!