Lady Yuhuan Yang is the beloved Imperial Concubine of the Chinese Emperor. Her brother Yang, the Prime Minister, is corrupt and the Fanyang Chief revolts and imperils the throne. This has grave consequences for the Yangs and the Emperor.
Assassin Chang and his brother Hung meet up with a soldier, Mu. Together, they form a small mountain army, but when Hung's wife arrives, emotions swell, and Mu leaves for the army. After ... See full summary »
The film shows the society and life in Beijing in 1920s through the eyes of a 6 year old girl. Yingzi Lin moves to Beijing from Taiwan with her parents. They live in a lane in the southern ... See full summary »
This prime example of director/co-writer Chang Cheh's mastery takes place right after the Korean War, as a kung-fu master, combat instructor, explosives expert, and missle specialist ... See full summary »
Toward the end of the Ching Dynasty, the South China Sea was swarming with pirates looking to plunder treasure-rich Portuguese merchant ships. A titanic tale of a daring and heroic "Robin Hood" of the seas.
This is an epic from director Li Han Hsang that speaks of court politics in Imperial China at the turn of the 20th Century. In particular, the film centers around the title role of the Empress Dowager, who during this time, exercised her power over four different Emperors (her husband, her son, and two nephews), and essentially brought about the end of the Ch'ing Dynasty rule over China.
The movie's quite accurate in context, examining and explaining many of the poor political choices that were made during this time. It also makes comparisons between the overt influence of the Imperial Eunuchs over the ruling power and that of Rasputin over the Russian royal family during the early 1900s.
The cast is really quite wide and varied, though many of the leading actors hail from an action movie background, rather than drama. Nevertheless, the acting throughout the film is superb for the most part and really gets the viewer into the drama of the period. Sets and props were worthy of the real Imperial court, truly reminiscent of Chinese artifact from that period, so I was very impressed with the lengths to which Li went to make this film authentic.
Granted, there are some things depicted in the movie which I doubt anyone alive really knows now, so yes, the movie does have its speculative bits.... but such is the case with many historical films. Directors do have artistic license, after all.
Despite the film's age, I feel it still translates well to a contemporary audience, given the fact that it's a history movie. Being a movie filmed by Hong Kong companies, it may not have the cinematography of American films during this time. Nevertheless, it does stand heads and shoulders above many of the Chinese films during this period and, in my opinion, a good watch for those interested in Chinese history.
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