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An Empress And The Warriors (2008) @ 江山美人

Kelly Chen: What the fuck movie have you cast me in?

Kelly Chen in nice armour
At a glance:
Have you ever seen a hot air balloon carrying a sampan? Well, in this movie, you will!
Bad news on the doorstep:
Firstly, do not be fooled by the artwork – this isn't your run-of-the-mill war epic. It isn't an expanded TVB kungfu drama either. If anythin, the clumsily titled An Empress And The Warriors a.k.a. 江山美人 is an MTV soap with Leon Lai and Kelly Chen playin mismatched lovebirds - and poor ones at that! You'd say: at least Donnie Yen kept his shirt on, sparin us the muscleman theatrics that tortured us for more than an hour in Flash Point. However, as war epics go, you wouldn't be spared the bionic, one-man-kill-all Oriental heroism that oozes out of Donnie's terracotta-type costume. Kelly Chen, on the other hand, is still poutin like a Chinese version of Emmanuelle Beart, despite having had so many opportunities since the Infernal Affairs movies to beef up her actin chops. It is peculiar to see the songstress shout at men like Maximus in Gladiator, only to manja up to Leon Lai in the next scene like a giggly schoolgirl. Together, they could hardly convince anybody that they are in Ancient China, let alone that they're in love.
Weeee... our careers suck!
Perennial wonderment:
That being said, let's not be too hasty to cast the first stone on this empress and her poor band of lost warriors. We can give consolation points for the costume settin, can't we? Although the body armour in the movie couldn't protect against mosquitoes, never mind arrows, they sure are nice to look at. This lends some credibility to the movie. Sadly, all that money still went to waste when you consider that the movie is largely forgettable due to its disengagin flow. The slow-mo action sequences may have been cool 20 years ago but we have learned to ask for more than action-wire assisted stunts through the years. Oh, the story? Princess Fei-er inherits the throne from her warlord dad in a short-lived attempt by General Mu-yong to keep this one other evil general, her cousin, out of power in the Yan hierarchy. Guess what she does with her monarchy when handsome medicine man Lan-guan comes into her life?
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
By the way, I lied - Donnie couldn't resist takin his shirt off after all. You'll see. ★★

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