An Empress and the Warriors (2008) Chinese Movie Information
Title in Chinese –江山美人
Title in Pinyin – Jiang Shan Mei Ren
Genre – War and Romance
Subject/theme – The Kingdom of Yan fights for survival against the Zhao kingdom and traitors who seek to usurp the throne
Language – Mandarin
Region – China
Hong Kong – 19th March 2008
Singapore – 27th March 2008
Canada – 15th July 2008
Movie runtime – 99 minutes
Director – Ching Siu-tung
Cast & Role Played
Donnie Yen – Muyong Xuehu, Yan general
Kelly Chen – Yan Fei’er, Yan princess
Leon Lai – Duan Lanquan, doctor and sole survivor of the elite New Moon warriors
Guo Xiaodong – Yan Huba, Yan king’s nephew and usurper of the throne
The movie is set in ancient China during the warring states period when a number of small kingdoms are fighting for dominance and is about the Yan and Zhao kingdoms that have been locked in a war generations. The Yan king is seriously injured while fighting the Zhao and secretly killed while in convalescence by his nephew Yan Huba who covets the throne for himself. With the help her general Murong, princess Fei’er takes over the throne and prepares herself to lead Yan in battle.
Huba sends assassins against Fei’er who is seriously injured and rescued by a hermit doctor Duan who nurses her to recovery. Fei’er and Duan develop feelings for each other but Fei’er must return to help and lead her people. Fei’er reunites with Murong and her armies only to find that Huba has taken his men and deserted her, leaving her to face a Zhao attack with a numerically inferior army. Fei’er and Murong defeat the Zhao and create peace between their two kingdoms by letting the Zhao king and his son live.
After transferring power of Yan to Murong and her trusted advisor, Fei’er abdicates the throne and returns to Duan to be his lover and live with him. Their peace is short lived when Huba sends more assassins against Duan and Fei’er and takes over the throne by force.
Editor’s Review of An Empress and the Warriors – Score 6/10
An Empress and the Warriors has an excellent cast, is set during a key part of China’s and has a good theme/plot. The problem is that movie is confused with fight scenes that wander from masked assassins that fly through the air and run faster than a horse to large battle scenes between opposing armies and a love relationship that does not fit the main plot. The result is fragmented and disjointed story that is hard to believe and borders on surreal at several points. The final battle where Donnie Yen is surrounded by a ring of hundreds of enemy soldiers and survives is pure fantasy and would have been ridiculous if it was not so entertaining. The scenes where soldiers where dismounted by chopping the feet of the horses out from under them but leaving the horses with out a scratch comes across as very cheap.
Overall An Empress and the Warriors is an enjoyable movie to watch with riveting battle scenes that make the movies defects forgivable. The well done cinematography and superb scenery are a delightful bonus.