Friday, September 18, 2009

Movie Review: An Empress and the Warriors

Short version: It turns out that just because a film is a Chinese period piece and stars Donnie Yen, I may not necessarily like it. Shocking.

I've never been one to criticize a movie's pacing, mostly because I'm not sure I always understood the term. I think, in this case, I can unequivocally do exactly that. The movie goes from battle scene to foresty solitude in no time flat, and does so several times, completely ruining the flow of whatever weak narrative is on display. It also seems to borrow liberally from a few other movies, including Gladiator, Crouching Tiger, and Aladdin, of all things.

The protagonist can't seem to focus on the personality she wants to embody, so she tries a couple on to see how they fit. For that, I blame the writer. I also blame the writer for spending too much time building up particular scenes instead of making the story flow throughout the movie.

I blame the director for forcing lousy music choices on the viewer. When the pace slows down dramatically and the movie is working on the relationship between the protagonist and her boy toy, at times it starts to play out like a music video of some kind. Bizarre and unnecessary.

The good news is that, as with most epic Chinese movies, the costuming is awesome and Donnie Yen does an admirable job of being the badass. I still prefer him as Sky in Hero.

Not a great movie.

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