Monday at work I gave "Hero" a luke warm review. Monday evening I bought a dvd reputed to be the originally released in China version of the movie. I didn't watch the dvd straight through (tried to be a good boy and not stay up late on a work night), but after skipping back and forth through the movie for 2 hours I didn't notice anything of the 20 minutes supposedly cut. I did notice a few small but significant differences in the subtitles. The main one is that when in the US released version they say what is translated as "Our Land" in the dvd it is translated as "All Under Heaven." Who ever was responsible for the wording for the US version might have thought that they were making it more understandable for international audiences. Instead for me it removed the mythic dimension from the story and made it seems more nationalistic. Any Chinese speakers able to comment on these two "spins" versus what is actually said in the movie?
For me there is one scene in the movie between Broken Sword and Flying Snow [Snow Flake?] that is more powerful than those between Jet Li and the King. That's why I call it a chic flic. On the dvd there is a "making of" docu/back story that is not subtitled. Don't know if it would be worth buying a US edition just for that but it is curious in that in addition to the understandably dubbed Chinese voice given to Anglo-Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle (who may or may not speak some dialect of Chinese) the voices of Maggie Cheung and Donnie Yen are dubbed in as well. I guess they wanted all the dialog of the docu to be in the same language. I am highly disappointed because i am currently infatuated with Ms. Cheung and would have greatly preferred hearing her voice. On the other hand I read one review at imdb.com saying that he thought Cheung's and Yen's voices in the movie might be dubbed in as well. Oy vey.
In the end, even though it is more of an art chic flic than a martial arts film it does have a dancable beat, so i give it an 7.5 out of 10.