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The Emperor's eunuchs have gained power and influence, the East Bureau and West Bureau spy and police the nation. They visit the shipyards, but only as a cover to execute those who would try and report their taking of bribes to the Emperor. Zhao Huai'an fights the leader of the East Bureau, defeating him and putting his head in a box and hanging it as a warning to other corrupt officials. The Emperor's chief concubine wants them to prevent the Emperor impregnating anyone aside from her. Three pregnant courtesans have been executed, a fourth is being hunted down. Officials stop a riverboat and are about to execute a woman but a masked hero intervenes. Zhao watches from nearby and the masked hero also claims to be Zhao. The imposter helps the courtesan flee to Dragons Gate, Zhao and his followers decide to fight the West Bureau to help delay them and aid in the escape.Written by
Before Jet Li was signed on for the role of Zhou Huai'an, Tsui reportedly offered the role to Donnie Yen but he turned it down due to the fact he has no wish to be in sequels/remakes of previous films he has already worked on. Jet Li was signed with US$ 12 million contract to star in this film. See more »
I have to say I was a disappointed in this movie. If you are going to have Jet Li as the main character, why CGI so much of the martial arts? Almost none of the martial arts scenes were live action, and those that were live action were sadly lacking in clarity, the director preferring quick cuts and flash over substance.
The story itself wasn't bad. It is a bit more complicated than the average kung-fu movie, which explains the two hour run time of the movie. Sadly, much of the depth in the movie felt added on, as if they took a chunk from several movies and added them together.
Also, I have to say, the opening sequence reminded me of something your would see at the beginning of a video game, rather than an actual movie.
I would wait to see this one on video.
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