Music Video Breakdown: ‘Hero’ by Enrique Iglesias

Born to legendary Spanish singer Julio Iglesias, Enrique Iglesias is a child of privilege whose success in the music industry seemed almost predetermined. He has sold over 100 million records around the world, topped the Latin and American charts, won a Grammy, been romantically involved with Anna Kournikova for over a decade, cast a a parade of starlets in his music videos to play the role of “woman with Enrique Iglesias’ tongue in her mouth,” and released a number of songs that — no matter how hard you try to prevent them from doing so — will get tangled up inside your brain like a rodent in a glue trap, and leave you belting them out EARNESTLY in your car at a red light in full view of other motorists. And he seemed to do all of it while wearing an omnipresent stupid knit cap, regardless of the temperature outside.

Enrique Iglesias is infuriating.

No song encapsulates all that as well as his 2001 single, “Hero.” Rising as high as #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was Iglesias’ biggest hit, and I am willing to lay a substantial amount of money on the following propositions: 1) You do not own the album this song is on; 2) Whether you are aware of it or not, you know all the words to this song. I guarantee it. The video manages to tick off almost all of the other factors in its 4:30 run time (dumb beanie, smooching famous ladies, etc.), and is one of those ambitious, short-film style videos that we love to break down here. So take a view minutes to watch the video again, and then click on through for an important discussion about young lovers running from mobsters in the dumbest and most inefficient way imaginable.

Before I dig into the video, I’d like to talk about the lyrics for a second. Especially the opening two mini-verses before the first chorus. I like to imagine they’re the lines Enrique Iglesias uses to to pick up women, because that would be weird and hilarious.

[Enrique Iglesias spots an attractive woman at a swim-up bar in a Sandals resort, and slides up next to her. He taps her on the shoulder.]

Enrique Iglesias: Would you dance … if I asked you to dance?

Woman: [drunk on rum punch] Ooo, aren’t you handsome. I’d love to go danc-

Enrique Iglesias: Would you run … and never look back?

Woman: I … uh, run where, exactly? Can I finish my drink first?

Enrique Iglesias: Would you cry … if you saw me crying?

Woman: Um…

Enrique Iglesias: And would you save my soul tonight?

Woman: [skeeved out to the max] I think I hear my friends calling me.

[Undeterred, Enrique Iglesias spots another woman at the swim-up bar, and set his sights on her]

Enrique Iglesias: Would you tremble … if I touched your lips?

Woman: [startled] Oh, Jesus. You scared me. What’s this now?

Enrique Iglesias: Would you laugh? Oh, please tell me this.

Woman: Why would I laugh if you touched my lips?

Enrique Iglesias: Now would YOU DIE … for the one YOU loved?

Woman: You’re scaring me.

Enrique Iglesias: [leans in for a kiss] Hold me in … your … arms … tonight.

Woman: Ew, no. What are you doing?

Lifeguard: That’s it, buddy. Outta the pool.

Here is the plot of this video in a nutshell: Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Love Hewitt stole a bunch of money from mobsters, and instead of hightailing it the hell out of Mexico (or whatever mostly barren desert the video takes place in) like you’re supposed to if you just robbed a criminal syndicate, they pull over like every 50 feet to make out a lot and they get caught. Basically, it’s the story of the worst criminals of all time.

EXHIBIT A: This is Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Love Hewitt making out in some strange, mangled building with a piano in it. This is pretty much the worst possible place to stop if you are on the run, because (a) no roof to protect you from the elements, (b) no walls to help you hide, (c) no couches, beds, or chairs to help you relax, and (d) STOP MAKING OUT YOU ARE BEING CHASED BY MURDERERS.

EXHIBIT B: Even when they do stop hooking up for five seconds, they still manage to bungle things by leaving an open bag of money in the backseat of the convertible and letting all the money blow away. Jesus Christ. I know you’re both impossibly pretty and in love, but seriously, zip up your loot sack. That’s, like, Robbery 101.

Oh, I’m sorry. Did I not mention that the leader of the mob that is tracking them down — hunting them from location to location throughout the video — is played by Mickey Rourke? I should have mentioned that. My deepest apologies.

We are going to talk a lot more about Mickey Rourke’s performance in this video. I promise. For now, please know that I have decided that his character’s name is something like Tommy the Knife. Or maybe just Mickey Rourke. That’s actually a pretty good mobster name. Yeah, let’s go with that.

I couldn’t get a super clear screengrab of this, but please note Enrique Iglesias’ outfit in this scene:

  • Stupid knit cap, obvs
  • Fully unbuttoned shirt
  • Weird necklace

This is the most Enrique Iglesias outfit.

After taking breaks from fleeing a group of murderous, Rourke-led criminals to play kissyface in a pile of rubble and walk along the side of the road staring longingly at each other, Enrique and Jennifer shack up in some sort of hotel room, fling all the money that didn’t blow away onto the bed, and start getting sexy all up on it.

I feel like this scene was all Enrique Iglesias’ idea. I bet the director’s original treatment just featured the Bonnie and Clyde, lovers-on-the-run stuff, but at the meeting Enrique nodded politely during the whole pitch, waited for the director to finish, and then said, “I would like to have sex with Jennifer Love Hewitt on a pile of money.” Actually, no. Check that. I bet he said that before the meeting even started, then made the director scramble to create a plot around it.

He also probably said something like, “I think my fans would like to see me jam my tongue into Jennifer Love Hewitt’s face,” because otherwise I can’t think of a single reason why this shot would be included in the video. Gross.

Here is a list of things Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Love Hewitt have done with the money they stole from Mickey Rourke:

  • Let it blow all over the road
  • Had sweaty, non-air conditioned, desert hotel sex on top of it
  • Lit it on fire

This troubles me.

NOTE: “Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.” – 18 USC § 333

Boom. Lawyer’d. Book ’em.

Anyway, after a solid couple minutes of frittering away all their money and doing everything except run away at top speed to escape Rourke and his goons, Enrique and Jennifer walk outside and are confronted by the bad guys. I imagine their conversation went something like this:

Enrique Iglesias: How did you find us?

Mickey Rourke: We followed the trail of money you left laying all over the highway, and we asked people if they saw a jackass who was wearing a beanie in goddamn Mexico making out with a busty white woman along the side of the road.

Enrique Iglesias: Oh.

Ladies and gentleman, Mickey Rourke.

Mickey Rourke does an amazing job of playing the bad guy in this video, especially considering he doesn’t have the benefit of dialogue. He does this primarily by using a number of old silent movie tricks, such as: smoking cigarettes constantly, wearing all black, slicking his hair back, doing evil sunglasses things, and, most importantly, being Mickey Rourke.

The highlight of his performance — hell, of the whole video — takes place as he is preparing to physically confront Enrique Iglesias, when he does the following three things (which I have helpfully GIFed):

1) I don’t know if any of you are scheduled to play a mobster who tracks down a young couple that has stolen money from him and confronts them outside what appears to be a church, but if you are, I highly recommend using this move. It is delightful.

2) As he prepares to fight Enrique, Mickey Rourke pulls out his gun and tosses it behind his back to his henchman. This tells us two things about his character: 1) He would rather deliver a slow, painful lesson than a quick one, and; 2) He’s the type of guy who, once he’s decided to take the risk of throwing a loaded weapon, figures “Eh, why not toss a little mustard on it, too?”

He’s essentially the Pistol Pete of pistol tossing.

3) From now on, this is the only acceptable “COME AT ME, BRO” GIF. I will not be accepting counterarguments.

Thanks to Chet Manley for the high-quality Rourke GIFS

The fight starts with Mickey letting Enrique give him a backhand to the face. Then he does one of those cool “Hmm, not a bad shot, kid” smiles that bad guys often do, and proceeds to start wrecking Enrique’s sh-t in front of his girlfriend. She is, shall we say, not pleased about this development.

After dropping Enrique with a knee to the abdomen, one of Mickey’s goons tosses him a crowbar. I like his fighting strategy. “Hey look, I’m going to make it a fair fight. See? I’m handing over my gun. Hell, I’ll even give you the first shot. Cool? OK great, now I am going to mash your head so hard with a crowbar that my sunglasses fly off mid-swing.”

ADDITIONAL NOTE: That appears to be a police officer standing behind Mickey, which means that he has enough juice in this town to have corrupt cops show up and stand guard during vicious gang-beatings. I am not even joking when I say that I would watch a three-hour Scarface-style movie about Mickey Rourke’s character in this music video.

After some very subtle imagery (HIS NECKLACE FALLS TO THE GROUND! THE SUN SETS! WHAT COULD IT MEAN?), we see Enrique stumbling around like a zombie in front of a few police cars. Not ambulances, mind you. Police cars. And, despite there being no less than three cars on the scene, not a single person is attending to the bloody man staggering around in the street. You’d think that would be Priority One. But then again, given what we just learned about Mickey Rourke’s character, maybe the cops are over with him making sure he didn’t hurt his hands beating Enrique like a dusty rug.

Also, for those of you keeping score, this is the scene that satisfied the clause that Jennifer Love Hewitt’s people put into every acting contract she signed between 1997 and 2002 that she appear soaking wet at some point.

[points microphone toward crowd, cups hand to ear]


Yeah. You’ll be singing that the rest of the day. Sorry*.

*Not sorry

The video comes to a close with Jennifer Love Hewitt wailing over Enrique’s body as he wriggles around on the ground, which is confusing for two reasons. First of all, why would Mickey Rourke let him live? Given the few things we know about his character in this video, that seems unlikely. Second, why is Jennifer Love Hewitt screaming like a banshee when she should probably be grateful that her beau, you know, survived a brutal crowbar beating by a mob boss? Well I am pleased to report that unlike most of the jackass questions I pose in these breakdowns I actually have answers to these. From the song’s Wikipedia page:

The video skips ahead where Iglesias and Hewitt are seen in the rain surrounded by police cars. Iglesias clutches his torso, implying that he’d been shot. The video ends with Iglesias’ death. However, it is assumed that the police caught Rourke. In addition to this video a second video was made for the UK with less violence. The final shot of this video shows Iglesias’ legs are moving, suggesting that he lives. While originally made for the UK this video has since replaced the original video on many music video stations throughout the world.

Putting aside the fact that I have already debunked the whole “it is assumed that the police caught Rourke” thing (eat it, Guy or Girl Who Wrote the Wikipedia Entry for “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias), I suppose that explains it. He DID die, but they replaced it with a somewhat happier ending later. OK, fine. But just for the record, his character was an incompetent thief who stole from a mob boss, wasted what appeared to be thousands and thousands of dollars, didn’t take running away seriously, and got to have sex with Jennifer Love Hewitt on a pile of money, all while wearing that stupid knit cap almost all the time.

My point is that it would have been OK with me if he died.