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2002 Chinese
2003 Japanese
Album 2 Cover Art
2004 American
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:
Tan Dun

Co-Produced by:
Grace Row

Performed by:
China Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus

Itzhak Perlman

KODO Drummers of Japan
Labels Icon
Sony Music Soundtrax (Hong Kong)
(December 11th, 2002)

Sony Music (Japan)
(July 21st, 2003)

Sony Classical (America)
(August 24th, 2004)
Availability Icon
The 2002 and 2003 albums were commercially released around the world and were only available to Americans as imports. The 2004 Sony Classical album is a regular U.S. release. All the albums were released by various divisions of Sony Music.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you have always been lured by the exotic appeal of Far East romanticism and would thus be enticed by a massive and more accessible expansion of Tan Dun's sounds for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Avoid it... if you detest monotonously mono-thematic film scores and did not find anything remotely enjoyable or interesting in that previous Dun score, for the underlying style here is largely the same.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 8/24/04, REVISED 9/23/11
Hero: (Tan Dun) The most successful domestic grossing venture in the history of Chinese films at the time, Zhang Yimou's Hero was the natural progression of styles from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon into an even bigger and more lavish production. The former film, interestingly, never performed very well in China because of Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-Fat's accented Mandarin dialogue, but additional dubbing in Hero solved the problem and led the film not only to wild success in China, but abroad as well. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe in 2002 in their respective foreign film categories, but it was curiously never fully distributed in the West. Much of the cast and crew for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon returned the next year for Hero, with the addition of international action star Jet Li as the nameless hero at the heart of the film. Set in China during the reign of the King of Qin (the emperor 2,200 years ago who united modern-day China and built the infamous wall), three assassins have vowed to dispatch the new emperor and one hero (Li) steps up to defend him. The lone warrior succeeds in killing all three of the assassins through different techniques of swordplay and passion. Like its predecessor, Hero suspends reality by combining the martial arts craft with magical and logic-defying movements, taking every setting and packing it with even more exaggerated and unrealistic characteristics. Composer Tan Dun won nearly every conceivable award for his music for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000, surprisingly defeating Hans Zimmer's Gladiator in the year of that film score's popular reign, and with his name and work extended into the international spotlight, Dun returned to expand upon the same general sound for Hero. Like the first film, he assembled an immense quantity of performance talent for the project, recording with the China Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, the KODO Drummers of Japan, the Ancient Rao Ensemble of the Changsha Museum, soprano You Yan, and guqin (lute) performer Liu Lu, with sessions recorded in China, Japan, and New York. Whether or not your ears are tuned to enjoy the resulting sounds of these diverse musicians, the sheer magnitude of the assembled performances and their intriguing tones should merit the curiosity of any film score collector, regardless of cultural upbringing.

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Average: 3.45 Stars
***** 354 5 Stars
**** 461 4 Stars
*** 367 3 Stars
** 169 2 Stars
* 158 1 Stars
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Jorge Fuertes - August 22, 2005, at 7:57 p.m.
1 comment  (2922 views)
Soundtrack Review: House of Flying Daggers   Expand >>
Get - February 23, 2005, at 5:29 p.m.
1 comment  (4288 views)
Craig - September 22, 2004, at 9:56 a.m.
1 comment  (2755 views)
Vocals on the soundtrack?
simiesque - September 14, 2004, at 12:22 p.m.
1 comment  (2700 views)
Shirley Ellis's THe Name Game   Expand >>
Lu - September 4, 2004, at 3:23 p.m.
2 comments  (3336 views)
Newest: September 6, 2004, at 5:06 Shinji
Funny   Expand >>
Al-karnak - September 2, 2004, at 4:55 a.m.
3 comments  (3765 views)
Newest: September 17, 2004, at 10:44 Ovelia

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
2002/2003 International Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 59:13
• 1. Hero: Overture (4:21)
• 2. For the World - Theme Music (4:19)
• 3. Warriors (3:44)
• 4. Gone with Leaves (3:28)
• 5. Longing (4:20)
• 6. At Emperor's Palace (3:58)
• 7. In the Chess Court (4:02)
• 8. Love in Distance (4:54)
• 9. Spirit Fight (4:32)
• 10. Swift Sword (3:36)
• 11. Farewell, Hero (3:00)
• 12. Sorrow in Desert (2:33)
• 13. Take Me Home (1:16)
• 14. Above Water (1:45)
• 15. Snow (1:06)
• 16. Yearning for the Peace (3:30)
• 17. Hero (Theme Song) - performed by Faye Wong (4:49)
2004 U.S. Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 54:29

Notes Icon
The 2004 American album's insert includes no extra information about the score or film.
Copyright © 2004-2016, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Hero are Copyright © 2004, Sony Music Soundtrax (Hong Kong), Sony Music (Japan), Sony Classical (America) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/24/04 and last updated 9/23/11.
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