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An Empress and the Warriors (2008) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version) VCD

Kelly Chen (Actor) | Leon Lai (Actor) | Donnie Yen (Actor) | Guo Xiao Dong (Actor)
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An Empress and the Warriors (2008) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 5 - 5.6 out of 10 (17)

YesAsia Editorial Description

An Empress and the Warriors features a Kelly Chen you've never seen before: in armor. The Canto-pop queen heads into battle for this impressive period adventure, in which she stars as Yan Feier, a determined princess who is given control of her troubled, war torn kingdom. Chen trained extensively to handle the role's physical demands, learning to ride a horse and handle a sword for director Tony Ching Siu Tung, who previously handled the action for Zhang Yimou's Hero and House of Flying Daggers, as well as numerous martial arts classics. Chen's co-stars are also top-notch; Leon Lai is her paramour, a kindly doctor with a hidden past, and action superstar Donnie Yen is her childhood friend and toughest warrior - and a man who holds a secret affection for his empress. A lavish tale filled with action and romance, An Empress and the Warriors is the 21st Century answer to the beloved Hong Kong Cinema swordplay classics of old.

Yan Feier (Kelly Chen) is thrust into the role of empress when her father the King is viciously murdered by his own nephew, Wu Ba (Guo Xiao Dong). His treachery unknown to Feier, Wu Ba plots to gain control of the kingdom for himself. Meanwhile, Feier turns to legendary warrior Brother Hu (Donnie Yen) to instruct her in the ways of warfare. But Wu Ba sends assassins after Feier, and she's poisoned by an assassin's dart before being lost in the woods. Her absence throws the kingdom into chaos, and Brother Hu must maintain morale, all the while carrying a hidden love for his missing empress. Meanwhile, Feier is found and nursed back to health by Duan Lanquan (Leon Lai), a doctor who lives in a secluded forest treehouse. Lanquan awakens the woman within the warrior's armor, and given the alternative of a peaceful life without war, Feier must eventually make a difficult choice. Should she choose love, and remain just a woman? Or should she choose her kingdom, and return to being an empress?

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Technical Information

Product Title: An Empress and the Warriors (2008) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version) 江山美人 (2008) (VCD) (香港版) 江山美人 (2008) (VCD) (香港版) エンプレス 運命の戦い (江山美人) (香港版) An Empress and the Warriors (2008) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Kelly Chen (Actor) | Leon Lai (Actor) | Donnie Yen (Actor) | Guo Xiao Dong (Actor) | Kou Zhen Hai | Yee Chung Man 陳慧琳 (Actor) | 黎明 (Actor) | 甄 子丹 (Actor) | 郭曉冬 (Actor) | 寇振海 | 奚仲文 陈慧琳 (Actor) | 黎明 (Actor) | 甄 子丹 (Actor) | 郭晓冬 (Actor) | 寇振海 | 奚仲文 陳慧琳(ケリー・チャン) (Actor) | 黎明(レオン・ライ) (Actor) | 甄子丹(ドニー・イェン) (Actor) | グオ・シャオドン (Actor) | 寇振海 (コウ・ジェンハイ) | Yee Chung Man 진혜림 (Actor) | Leon Lai (Actor) | 견자단 (Actor) | Guo Xiao Dong (Actor) | Kou Zhen Hai | Yee Chung Man
Director: Ching Siu Tung 程小東 程小东 程小東 (チン・シウトン) 정소동
Release Date: 2008-05-28
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Place of Origin: Hong Kong
Disc Format(s): VCD
Rating: IIB
Duration: 96 (mins)
Publisher: Mei Ah (HK)
Other Information: 2VCDs
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1010746584

Product Information

Director: Ching Siu Tung


The story is set in ancient China before its unification, during which countless kingdoms battle for supremacy. Yen Feier [Kelly Chen] is thrust onto the throne when her father is killed in battle. Feier and her loyal Muyong Xuehu [Donnie Yen] unite to defend the kingdom. But her ambitious cousin Wu Ba [Guo Xiao-dong] sends assassins to kill her. A mysterious man Duan Lan-Quan [Leon Lai] saves her. Feier falls in love with Duan who offers her another life. With the fate of their kingdom in the balance, Feier must choose between her duty and her dreams.
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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This film has received 4 award nomination(s). All Award-Winning Asian Films

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Professional Review of "An Empress and the Warriors (2008) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)"

May 27, 2008

This professional review refers to An Empress and the Warriors (2008) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
An Empress and the Warriors is dumb fun - with an emphasis on dumb. Directed by Ching Siu-Tung, Empress is an epic costume action-drama featuring an ill-supported storyline and a cast that requires a double take. Casting Donnie Yen as a badass warrior/officer is a no-brainer, and Leon Lai is at least imaginable as a tree-hugging doctor/lover. But Kelly Chen as a warrior princess? Imagining the ethereal Chen as a princess is easy - but when I say that, I'm thinking of one of those Disney heroines that talks to animals and acts sassy and spunky before getting swept off her feet by her knight in shining armor. Musical numbers would be a must.

However, that's not the type of character that Chen plays in Empress. Here, she's required to portray a determined young princess who takes up a difficult challenge: heir to an entire kingdom that happens to be at war. You'd think that responsibility would require a serious, focused young woman with a tremendous chip on her shoulder, and not a ditzy, pouting princess who has time to act silly. But we get the full gamut - serious to silly to pouty - with Chen's photogenic and bewildering performance, and the whole is too inconsistent to take seriously. Empress and the Warriors mirrors that inconsistency, and is ultimately not a film to call quality. But amusing? It can be that.

Chen stars as Yan Feier, daughter of the King of Yan, who is seriously wounded in battle with the opposing Zhao army, and chooses to pass his command to adopted orphan Muyong Xuehu (Donnie Yen). The assignment is a bit surprising since Xuehu - who's also called Brother Hu by Feier - is not blood-related to the Yan family, and nephew Wu Ba (Guo Xiao-Dong) is ready, able and willing to take command. However, the King knows that Wu Ba is a power mongering rat bastard and chooses to pass him over, thereby earning Wu Ba's ire, as well as a quick assassination when no one is looking. Feier happens upon her dying father, who tells her to give the symbolic Swallow Sword to Brother Hu, bestowing upon him the mantle of Yan's ruler.

However, when the time comes to reveal this news to the army ranks, they balk because they're a bit leery of an unrelated orphan taking command. Hu pulls a fast one and tricks the assembled men into thinking that the King intended to give his kingdom to Feier instead, meaning *gasp* that a woman will now be in charge of the kingdom! But Wu Ba and company are still not convinced of her ability to lead the attack against the encroaching Zhao forces, so Feier pledges to learn to kick ass. This leads to an inspired training montage that features plenty of shots of Donnie Yen knocking the tar out of Kelly Chen. Right about now there should be plenty of popstar naysayers cackling at that thought, and indeed, it's guiltily amusing seeing the fair, slight Chen getting smacked around by the muscular Yen. These scenes are strike one on the film's credibility, as the very idea that Chen could even last one minute against Yen is difficult to buy.

But that's not the end of the film's lack of credibility. Brother Hu states that Feier should lead the kingdom because she's the only one who can unite the people. As he says, "The people love you." Really? Where are these people that Hu is talking about? Despite being a film about warring kingdoms and a nation under seige, Empress and the Warriors seldom depicts anyone outside a handful of soldiers. There are some glimpses of larger armies before some of the battles, but by and large this is a curiously empty film. In more than one scene, Feier surveys her land or her city, but nobody can be seen during these sequences at all. Her coronation is talked about but never depicted, and the sense of scale implied by the film's story and dialogue never seems to register. Ultimately, Empress and the Warriors feels very light, despite being about the potential destruction of an entire kingdom. The script (written by James Yuen Sai-Sang, among others) possesses all your usual checkpoints of this type of story (betrayal, loyalty, mercy, humanity, etc.), but nothing here feels that compelling. As such, supporting details like Mark Lui's bombastic score and Yee Chung-Man's ornate production design feel more than a tad overblown.

Nothing is sillier, however, than Kelly Chen's acting. The singer-actress tries valiantly, and reportedly worked very, very hard on the film's action sequences. But her bearing is not regal, and her acting marvelously inconsistent. She acts tough and determined in the early going, but midway through, she becomes the silly, fussy Kelly Chen of old. After an assassination attempt leaves Feier missing and mortally wounded, she's found and nursed back to health by kindly doctor Duan Lanquan (Leon Lai), who lives in an elaborate treehouse that looks like it was shipped over from the planet Endor. Lanquan spends his time communing with nature and building a primitive hot air balloon, and the time Feier spends with him is idyllic, cute, and jarring in its lack of continuity. Basically, it's like it should be in another movie entirely.

Feier goes from serious and directed to silly and sassy, and the film doesn't provide enough backstory to give her personality switch much credibility. Perhaps the idea is that she can finally let her hair down outside of the stifling walls of the palace, but the film doesn't convey that well. If one reads through the lines, Empress can make much more sense, as the outline of a workable, if clichéd plot are present. But really, the audience shouldn't be required to do that work for the filmmakers. The storyline and emotions in Empress and the Warriors feel exceptionally, exceptionally perfunctory, as they're not really given the focus or support needed to make them affecting. Even The Promise managed to tug more heartstrings than this film.

What works in Empress? Well, the action is decent, though it's a tad underwhelming until the finale, when Donnie Yen goes Donnie Yen on hordes of soldiers who can't fight the manly uber-stud that is Donnie Yen. Usual overactor Yen keeps a lid on it for a large portion of the film, and handles his character's unrequited love for Feier well enough to earn the audience's sympathy. When he goes over the top, though, everyone had better watch out, because it's time for even more Yen muscular posing and badass glares - and as anyone whose seen Dragon Tiger Gate or Flash Point knows, Yen overacting is the height of entertainment. Still, Yen is an accomplished thespian next to Kelly Chen, who forever seems to be attempting roles outside her rather limited range. She's still a very beautiful woman, but her fussy faces and pouty expressions belong in a romantic comedy and not a big-budget wannabe costume epic. Maybe if they had added some talking animals, then her performance would feel more appropriate.

Empress and the Warriors is in many ways a combination of new and old Hong Kong Cinema. Its settings, scale, and the grandeur it implies are very much new, keeping with the vogue for elaborate Ancient Chinese action-dramas that started with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and continued with a zillion other movies starring Zhang Ziyi. However, the glossed-over details, deliberate cuteness, and shifting tone feel more like those early nineties wuxia that mixed flying kung-fu with sloppy production values and bizarre hijinks. Those films were frequently uneven, yet still entertaining, and Empress almost pulls off the same trick here.

The problem is that the old Hong Kong Cinema formula doesn't really work here, as the film's production values are too ornate and serious, and don't fit the film's odd, borderline cheesy combination of elements. Nonetheless, the parts can sometimes amuse and entertain. The action can be diverting and the performers are pretty close to A-list. They don't really turn in quality performances, but they're photogenic, likeable, and good for audiences who like a little popstar connection with their big-budget moviegoing. Stuff like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves qualifies as an A-list Hollywood crowd-pleaser despite the fact that it's uneven, silly, and features completely miscast performers. If one looks at Empress and the Warriors the same way - as well-produced commercial crap with very low expectations attached - then it's possible to have some fun. A year from now, nobody will remember the film, but for ninety minutes, it can pass the time. Many audiences believe that's what movies are all about.

by Kozo -

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Customer Review of "An Empress and the Warriors (2008) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 5 - 5.6 out of 10 (17)

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January 27, 2011

This customer review refers to An Empress and the Warriors (2008) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
So Hilariously Bad Customer Review Rated Bad 4 - 4 out of 10
This movie is visually superior but the plot suffers from poor writing. You know you're watching a poorly written movie when you keep thinking; and scene, and scene... etc. There was no real character development. This is a classic example of TELLING us the story instead of SHOWING us the story.

BUT I did have fun watching the final 'battle' scene! Wow. What cheese, it was hilarious!

And there were some very cute moments near the start. This movie is not a complete waste of time but it's dangerously close to being so!
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December 15, 2010

This customer review refers to An Empress and the Warriors (2008) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Stunning Visuals - Weak Storyline Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
This movie is beautiful. There isn't a scene that won't please your eye. The actors did their best but the plot was simply too rushed. It's as simple as that.

I thought they had a really great story idea but they didn't let us rest enough with the characters to truly feel for them as they fall in love and then lose love. Everything happens so quickly - bang bang - with no time to settle in and connect with the characters. As a result the plot feels choppy and disconnected.

This movie was definitely too rushed. Perhaps that's because they tried to fit too much into an hour and a half, I don't know. All I know is that they needed to take a bit more time.

Despite all these complaints there were more moments I enjoyed very much! I laughed out loud several times and held my breath at some of the beautiful scenery.

Ah, the fight scenes were definitely well done (except for one particular fight scene I won't mention because it's too absurd to mention).

I wouldn't call this a love story, an action movie, or a historical flick. I'd just call it an experiment gone awry.
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Kevin Kennedy
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July 19, 2010

This customer review refers to An Empress & the Warriors (DVD) (US Version)
A ripping yarn Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
I had read so many negative reviews of "An Empress and the Warriors" that I almost gave it a miss. Don't expect a "Red Cliffs"-style epic; if one seeks a fun Saturday night popcorn flick, then this one does the trick. Kelly Chen stars as Yan Feier, an 'accidental' empress thrust into her position of power after her father the King is murdered. She is opposed by her cousin Wu Ba (Guo Xiao Dong), who seeks a more aggressive posture toward rival kingdoms, and is supported by her adopted elder brother Hu (Donnie Yen), who harbors a secret love for Feier. Ruthless Wu Ba sends assassins to kill Feier. They poison her and leave her for dead. Unaware of who she is, Duan Lanquan (Leon Lai) discovers the wounded empress and nurses her back to health in his elaborate treehouse home. Soon Feier and Lanquan fall in love, but the demands of her royal calling catch up to her when Hu summonses her to lead the resistance against Wu Ba. Feier is torn between her love for pacifist Lanquan and the loyalties she owes her subjects. On her choice rests the fate of her kingdom.

Yes, it is formulaic stuff, but it is richly romantic in the traditional sense (i.e., a tale of heroes and extraordinary or mysterious events). The action -- and there is plenty of it -- is quite gripping stuff and the love triangle amongst Feier, Lanquan, and Hu is deftly handled. Both Donnie Yen and Leon Lai are appropriately chivalrous and Guo Xiao Dong fairly drips of deadly malice toward all. Kelly Chen surprised me with one of her most compelling performances. On this Dragon Dynasty release, Bey Logan's film commentary is worth the price of the DVD. From Mr. Logan, we gain such insights as the fact that scheduling conflicts allowed the stars to appear together in only a handful of scenes. When we see Kelly and Leon pitch woo at each other, they usually were acting with a double!

I found "An Empress and the Warriors" to be very enjoyable, very reminiscent of the Shaw Brothers' classics. And like those old Shaw Brothers yarns, this film doesn't overstay its welcome. At only 98 minutes, the film is crisply told with never a dull moment.
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January 2, 2010

This customer review refers to An Empress and the Warriors (2008) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Great movie!!! Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
I don't understand why the review is so low. I thought this was a very good movie. I didn't expect this to
be so good since HK movies are getting worse and worse. Most of the movies have no themes and are
jumping all over the place. But this movie was stunning! I loved it so much. It has both romance and
action in it also. The places where this was filmed was so beautiful! Actor and actress are all handsome
and pretty. Great music! The song sung by Leon and Kelly matches the movie perfectly!!!
The clothes are awesome! I watched it 4 times and still think this is great! A must buy DVD!!!
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April 2, 2009

This customer review refers to An Empress and the Warriors (2008) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
An Empress and the Warriors Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
This takes place during a mythical time in ancient China when there are 10 kingdoms vying for power. The story relates to conflicts between two of these kingdoms, namely the Yan and the Zhao plus some internal power politics and how a young princess goes to Empress and from girl to woman and her relationship with the two most important men in her life (excluding her father). The more intimate scenes are well handled. For both Leon Lai and Kelly Chen this is their first 'historical' film of this type. The Blu-Ray edition allows one to clearly see the intricate patterns and finer detail on the armour on the various protagonists, to appreciate the clearness of the images of large numbers of men whether or not on the battlefield. The armour of Yan appears to be based on western concepts from the 15th and 16th Centuries whilst that of Zhao is based on Japanese concepts. The battlefield scenes are well done and I think for the first time include a large number of war chariots not normally seen in chinese movies of this type.
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