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Genre: War/Drama
Starring: Donnie Yen, Leon Lai, Kelly Cheng, Guo Xiao-Dong, Kou Zhen-Hai
Director: Tony Ching Siu-Tung
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2008






Languages: Chinese
Subtitles: Chinese
Aspect Ratio: -
Presentation Size: -
Sound: -
Running Time: 1 hr 39 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East




In ancient China, many kingdoms battle for supremacy. Yen Feier (Kelly Chan) is thrust onto the throne after her father died in battle. Feier and General Muyong Xuehu (Donnie Yen) unite to defend the kingdom. Her ambitious cousin, Wu Ba (Guo Xiao-dong) tries to kill her, but a mysterious man Duan Lan-Quan (Leon Lai) saves her. They fall in love, leaving Feier to choose between her duty and her dreams...


Director Peter Chan once shared with us on one of the heated conflicts he had while working with Ching Siu Tung on the Warlords. Director Peter Chan wanted to place the emphasis on the story telling aspect and his action coordinator, Ching Siu Tung was more interested in making the action sequences look good.

It’s intriguing to see when Ching Siu Tung took up the directing duties for Empress and the Warriors, how is he going to balance story telling and action sequences.

Let’s start with the positive aspects of Empress and the Warriors.

The costume design for the warriors looked outstandingly good. It stood out so well that films like "Curse of the Golden Flowers" and even recent "Romance of the Three Kingdom: Resurrection of the Dragon" pale in comparison. This is how period military costume should look like, exquisitely crafted with grayish shades and not some weird hybrid or brightly colorful amours.

The framing for the cinematography here for certain scenes look quite impressive and especially when it’s featuring on the warriors’ amour.

That’s about all that stood out for Empress and the Warriors.

Better known as an action choreographer nowadays, it’s indeed strange that the action sequences here turned out to be insipid and unmemorable, a mile tamer than what was done for The Warlords. Even the climatic fight finale felt tame, absurd, plot holes galore (why didn’t anyone just fire arrows at Donnie Yen’s character (General Muyong)? Isn’t it faster that way?) and a unfeasible finale at such awkward angle (check out the final fight and see if you agree with me).

The story telling aspect was so choppily hurried and unintentionally laughable that it make one wonder if this is coming from the same guy who directed the classic A Chinese Ghost Story. It felt that it was fast forwarding all the way till Kelly Chen (Yan Feier) met Leon Lai (Duan Lan Quan) and it slowed down for the romance to bubble before fast forwarding to the finale big fight sequences. Things that are meant to arouse emotions turned out to be a joke as one scene we had General Muyong telling Yan Feier that her dad is an invincible warrior and the following scene, her “invincible” dad suffer a fatal shot by an arrow (they left the more spectacular death for someone else).

Then it came to the selection as the lead for the Mei Ren (the beauty). It’s subjective to personal preference and in my humble opinion, Kelly Chen lacks that extra oomph to portray as a beauty. Yes she is pretty but beautiful? Not in my book.

Another questionable issue for this film was her acting ability to portray the “Mulan” type of toughness. Kelly Chen’s emotional outbursts among her fellow soldiers really feel like a primary school monitress scolding her fellow classmates for misbehaving.

An Empress and the Warriors will probably join the huge inventory of forgettable Hong Kong lousy movies that suffered from poor scripts and casting choice. It’s so bad that it’s unintentional funny that’s on par with another recent period film, The Promise. For the director, films like this will only cement people’s impression that he should stay behind the camera instead of directing.




A couple of things to note about this edition of An Empress and the Warriors; first it was without English subtitles. It makes one wonder if the US market is making the Asian bend over for them again.

It’s been a long time since it appears on our local dvds and it might be making a comeback with An Empress and the Warriors. Viewers will get to see the Scorpio East logo appearing intermittently during the show. On the TV, it will appear just above the picture but played on computer, it will appear on the top right hand of the film. Never a popular feature, I am not sure why is it included for this film and wonder if it’s going to be a permanent feature for Scorpio East dvds from now on.



Review by Richard Lim Jr


. An Empress and the Warriors (Movie Review)

Other titles from Scorpio East:

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. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

. High School Musical 2: Extended Edition

. Pixar Short Films Volume One

. Who Slept With Her?

. The Jungle Book

. Disney Princess Enchanted Tales

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. Goal II: Living the Dream

. Hanna Montana

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. Primeval

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. The Fox and the Hound 2

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. Dumbo

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. Diary

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. The Shoe Fairy

. 2 Becomes 1

. 49 Days


. Dragon Eye Congee

. A Chinese Tall Story

. Perhaps Love


. Election

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. Wait 'Til You're Older

. The Maid



This review is made possible with the kind support from Scorpio East


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