Directed by Yimou Zhang
Written by Feng Li, Bin Wang, and Yimou Zhang
Starring: Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung, Ziyi Zhang, Donnie Yen
A nameless swordsman has defeated three skilled assassins who had sought to take the life of the Emperor of Qin. Now he has come to the emperor to claim his reward and present the Emperor with the weapons of those he has defeated.
Yimou Zhang (Raise the Red Lantern) is a man of many talents. This time he co-wrote the story and took on the project as director. The movie earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film. The success of this film comes partially from the incredible visuals put together by Zhang and cinematographer Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love). The other aspect of the success is the incredible talent of the cast. The actors were asked to portray complex emotional characters while also working with intensely choreographed action sequences. The combination creates a blend of action and drama that are incredible to see.
The cast includes Jet Li (Fearless), Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Red Cliff), Maggie Cheung (2046), Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), and Donnie Yen (Ip Man). With these talented actors, Yimou Zhang weaves a story of intrigue, romance, suspense, and action. It’s a movie unlike any others I’ve seen since all these aspects combine so wonderfully with the Chinese style of choreography. Instead of a film that’s all visuals and no substance, this one leaves you with something to think about.
Here are some of the incredible visuals from the film:
The visuals are enough to love this movie. Thanks to the color and the camera work, this movie is always calling your focus from one side of the screen or another. It’s all done with an ease that keeps it from becoming distracting. The tones and the composition seem to complement every aspect of the story.
This film is a wonderful marriage of story and visuals. The acting is wonderful, and it’s almost unnoticeable that you’re watching a foreign film. If you’re a fan of Jet Li, this is one you should see. It’s also a good one for martial arts movie fans, and fans of Quentin Tarantino. His efforts to bring this film to a wider audience cannot be overstated. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.