Hero

Nameless (Jet Li) earns his audience with the Emperor. For defeating each of the emperor's top enemies, Nameless has been awarded gold, land, and 10 paces closer to the Emperor. He is now exactly 10 paces away from the Emperor, which is what he needs to assassinate the Emperor himself. While conversing with the emperor, it is revealed that while Nameless first claims that his exceptional skill defeated the three warriors, the three warriors actually gave their lives just so that Nameless can get close enough to assassinate the emperor. One of the warriors, Broken Sword (Tony Leung), was once given an opportunity to assassinate the emperor himself, but did not because his study of calligraphy taught him that only the emperor can bring peace, but unifying the entire country, even if by force. Nameless realizes the same concept right before he attempts to assassinate the emperor. Nameless instead tells the emperor to bring peace to the land, as it is what Nameless is willing to die for. Nameless is executed, as per an existing law set forth by the emperor, who could not back down from his own rules. Elsewhere, Broken Sword and Flying Snow are engage in a duel to the death, as Flying Snow is angry that Nameless did not assassinate the emperor and blames Broken Sword for having swayed Nameless's intent. Broken Sword purposely allows Flying Snow to defeat him, saying that this was the only way he can convince her of his commitment to her. She then takes her own life to be with him as well.

Jet Li gets to chat with the heavily-guarded emperor after killing his top three assassins. Romeo describes how he did so (exceptional skill) in flashback. The emperor corrects him; the truth is that Romeo convinced all of the assassins to throw their matches so that he could as a award get close enough to and kill emperor. Also, the third assassin has a hobby of calligraphy and was once upon a time himself about to kill the emperor but backed out for unknown reasons.

Mark Calloway

Continuity mistake: In the third rendition of the story of what happened at Zhao, Nameless shows that his attack could have immense precision by throwing all the additional sticks in the air along with the white one. Not only does the white stick change trajectory during the scene changes, but at the end the additional sticks all seem to fly in from a barrel just out of sight instead of falling all around Nameless' sword.

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Trivia: In the flashbacks, the characters' costumes go from red (imagination) to blue (perceived reality) to white (truth). In the final flashback, the costumes are green (enlightenment/peace).

Xofer

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Question: Was this film based on an true story, or was it fiction based on the true warring states as the backdrop?

Answer: It was a fiction based on the true historical period as backdrop, althought it sorted of resembled a true event that the deserter general of Qin gave his head to an assassin as a pass to get close to the Emperor, who was then still a king of a state among the warring states.

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