Movie Review: An Empress and The Warriors
About a million years ago I signed up with Best Buy for their frequent buyer program. Every so often they send me a $5 coupon, so I hit the store and look for some DVD to enjoy. I generally hunt for either a classic or something that looks interesting and, with the coupon, will be pretty close to free.
An Empress and The Warriors fit the bill. The packaging looked great, as you can see by the image. (That’s not the image on the box that I bought, but close enough.) The armor looked intriguing and even if things looked a little sketchy historically, I don’t buy movies for history anyway. I just figure it’s all fantasy on one level or another. If it’s pretty and has action, I’m generally good to go.
The story is pretty basic: the King dies and there’s a power struggle for succession. His daughter lands on the throne, but rebel nobles are not happy about that, so they plot to have her assassinated. She survives and is nursed back to health by a hermit and they fall in love. She returns to lead the army to defeat an ancient enemy, then abdicates so she can be with her lover. The rebels choose this moment to strike, more assassins, more action. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
The visuals are breathtaking, and the action is great. The story is a bit weak, and has an Asian ending. By that I mean that if you’re expecting a Western “everybody lives happily ever after” ending, you’re out of luck. Still, parts of the film felt very Star-Warsy to me. And though I had to read the film (subtitles); I found the actors very visually expressive. There were sequences where they didn’t say anything, and didn’t need to, which made the film that much more enjoyable. Donnie Yen and Leon Lai had great action sequences. Kelly Chin, the heroine, held her own in the action sequences, and is simply gorgeous, so watching her was a pure joy.
In a previous post I talked about the review rating system I’d use for films. Going by that scale, I’d actually give this film 4 stars. I know there won’t be a sequel, just because of the way it ends, but I really liked the feel. While I was watching I made some story notes because of a couple things in the film. They managed to do some things that I liked a lot, and I’ll end up playing with various techniques to see if I can incorporate those things into my writing.
I got the film for about $6. If you see it on Netflix, or find it at a rental place, it’s definitely worth a look. I may actually end up watching it again and chart out the story’s ups and downs. And I’ll definitely be looking for other films with these stars in them. All in all, a good way to spend an evening relaxing.