滿城盡帶黃金甲 Mǎnchéng Jìndài Huángjīnjiǎ
Li Gong, Yun-Fat Chow, Jay Chou, Junjie Qin, Ye Liu, Dahong Ni, Jin Chen, Man Li
During China's Tang dynasty, the Emperor (Yun-Fat Chow), the Empress (Li Gong) and their sons are served by a bevy of adoring servants. But, as in any family, secrets are just around the corner, and the Imperial family hides their unspeakable secrets until the day of the Chong Yang Festival, when every plot is unveiled.
I haven't seen neither "Hero" nor "House of Flying Daggers", and despite I know they are martial arts oriented films, I wrongly thought this one would have been a little deeper, considering is loosely based on a great play in China. There's basically no martian art, but unfortunately it doesn't have much depth.
Gorgeous to look at, Curse of the Golden Flower is a Shakespearian, flawed period drama with absolutely no soul.
The main problem is the lack of substance. There isn't too much plot involved other than a normal double-crossing story. Despite its simplicity, the story turns complicated when, half way through the film, new characters are introduced to add plot twists, and supposedly drama. What it did instead is ruining the impact of the tragedies. Furthermore the horrendous ending leaves you empty, like you have only wasted time.
The action and fight sequences -- the reason a lot of people have seen this film for -- are not all on the same level. While the ninjas assault is quite good, the others, especially the final battle, are nothing more than the result of a massive CGI use.
On the other side of the coin there's the visual impact, a whole different thing. The cinematography is spectacular. The bright colours, the patterns, the details, the breathtaking scenes and the views of the palace are so beautiful, words are not enough to describe them.
And lastly the acting is strong. Gorgeous and elegant Li Gong gives a powerful performance as the Empress, a woman driven by strong feelings. Charismatic Yun-Fat Chows gives an excellent performances as the cruel Emperor. Finally, Ye Lie does a fine job as the Crown Prince, and Jay Chou is not as good as the others - he is not a professional actor after all - but gets better in the end.
What I do not give, you must never take by force. - Emperor Ping