Ye yan (Legend of the Black Scorpion) (The Banquet) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Ye yan (Legend of the Black Scorpion) (The Banquet) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 21, 2007
The crown prince of a 10th century Chinese kingdom is summoned back to court when his father is assassinated and usurped by his uncle. Yet another Crouching Tiger wannabe starring the ubiquitous Zhang Ziyi, The Banquet is in fact a loose adaptation of Hamlet. I must admit to fearing the worst for the opening half of this film as it seemed to contain many of the same mistakes the very similar Curse Of The Golden Flower made in that it seemed to concentrate far more on overblown and superfluous set pieces and elaborate costumes than its plot and characters. Fortunately once the prince reaches the palace the story gets a kick start and the schemes and machinations of the various factions make for a much more interesting watch. It was nice to see Zhang Ziyi in a meatier role than the innocent porcelain doll she always seems to play and the supporting cast bring presence to their roles although it is often difficult to connect with any of them on an emotional level. It looks glorious, which is pretty much par for the course for this kind of thing and despite some pacing issues with the first half is a pretty decent stab at Oriental Shakespearian tragedy. Much better than the aforementioned Golden Flower, but obviously not in the same league as Kurosawa's forays into Bard territory.
Super Reviewer
June 11, 2009
Xiaogang Feng creates a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet known as The Banquet.The story involves deceit, betrayal, and all the other good stuff in the royal court. It does have a play-like feel to it with a run time of 2 hours and 10 minutes and a pace that is quite slow. Yes, the film does drag at times, however the cinematography, costuming, settings, and acting save this film from total boredom. Besides, the final 30 minutes, which is the banquet scene, is highly intriguing. Hence, The Banquet.The action is minimal, and like mostly everything else in this film, very dramatic. Most of the shots are in slow motion and the orchestra type music tones down the bloody encounters. One of the sequences is more of a dance than a fight too. The martial arts choreography is there and it is a shame that a good portion of it isn't seen in real time speed.The acting is good, albeit seemingly unemotional at times. Zhang Ziyi keeps the viewer at bay as she keeps switching sides with her actions. Daniel Wu, Zhou Xun, and Ge You round out the rest of the major cast.The Banquet is not the most entertaining of films, as it is mostly for people that enjoy theatrical arts. It is worth a check out if time allows.
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2008
Outstanding Movie, A Romeo & Jullet / Hamlet Story in Asian Theme, love the way people just float thur the air when fighting, much better then the ole school Kung Fu Movies (trash Can Lids). Rent or Buy you will not be sorry.
Super Reviewer
½ October 31, 2007
This movie is one hell of a masterpiece! Anyone who has a passion for theater arts would surely love this!
Note: Get a copy with proper subtitles!!
Super Reviewer
½ July 20, 2007
Very pretty...very indulgent...very whatever...
Super Reviewer
April 3, 2007
You can't have everything you wish because you will loose everything if you keep forcing it!
Super Reviewer
½ October 30, 2008
If you enjoyed movies like:"Curse of the Golden Flower", "Crouching Tiger : Hidden Dragon", you will be ready for this tale based upon the Japanese version of a Shakespearean type of tale. See this for the cinematography as well as the choreography, both were surreal!
Super Reviewer
½ February 8, 2009
What a dramatic story! Very beautiful and choreographed movie. I loved the action sequences and stunning scenery. A love story with a tragic ending, it will captivate you. :) Awesome movie.
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2008
No kung-fu fighting this time from Ziyi Zhang. But theirs still plenty of action and some beautiful cinematography.
Super Reviewer
December 16, 2007
An intriguing movie. Zhang Ziyi's most impressive performance ever.
A must-see!
Super Reviewer
½ April 30, 2008
"Qing. Wuluan. It is I. I knew it when I sang the first line. Qing. Your Highness. Are you still alone? With you I am never alone."
Brilliant fight scenes by the master Woo-ping Yuen. Fantastic photography, great set designs and a great cast with Ziyi Zhang (Empress Wan), Prince Wuluan (Daniel Wu) and Xun Zhou (Qing Nu) among others. Great score by Tan Dun. A powerful and bloody epic drama, Hamlet chinese style.
June 20, 2012
A lot of people obviously worked on this. The big production can't carry the thing through however. Despite working on excellent Shakespeare material, the story manages to be 'okay' at best.
September 24, 2007
Equivalent to attending a massive feast only to discover the main course is missing, The Banquet is frequently stunning, beautifully shot, but ultimately undernourishing.
½ December 19, 2011
This movies didn't work for me - the pseudo-history was just too much! The story was a thinly veiled Hamlet variation (and not a good one at that). Quite disappointed.
½ March 7, 2011
This was good but not great like the other movies from Dragon Dynasty:( I still enjoyed it as it as it still has my fave actress in it- Ziyi Zhang. As always love the fighting scenes:)
½ November 17, 2010
This movie is kind of a mess, and that makes me surprised that they picked this as their Oscar submission for their country. It is Shakespearean in its influence, but it probably could have been better if they strayed further from any source of drawn out relations and made it a more twisted novella.

Then, it masquerades as a martial arts movie where the fighting is very much choreographed dancing. The excitement of the combat is dead because you are watching it for its grace and synchronicity than raw emotion. Even the angles they take to film the fights really sacrifice this for the movements than meaning of the battle.

What is good is that it has beautiful use of color and sets. And the wirework is great. And that's about it.
½ July 5, 2010
this movie was bought by my wife to watch as a "cheesy kung fu movie" but was anything but that. ALOT of money went into this movie and it has some great acting. a deep and tragic story line. and last some really great fight scenes. not a massive amount of fighting but the story and "what happens next" factor makes up for it. if I could I would give it a 65%.
½ June 5, 2010
Feng Xiaogang is one of mainland China's up and coming directors. This is one of his older films. "Legend of the Black Scorpion," also known as "The Banquet" (in China) is a remaking of Macbeth. The lead actors, Daniel Wu and Ge You both do an excellent job. Ge You is particular interesting as the King/Duke. As for Zhang Ziyi, I think her casting was a bit off. While she did a good job in Crouchig Tiger, her shoes are a bit small for playing a queen. However, since the movie did have an interesting plot, excellent cinamatography, and a great soundtrack, I can overlook some of the scenes she was in that somewhat fell flat (such as at the end). This movie is similar to other Asian films like "Hero" or "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," expect some flying through the air ballet action, but its a bit more tactfully done than some films. The best scene is perhaps the one at the beginning, where a group of the king's men are sent to kill a prince. It has some great singing from Mongolian and Chinese pop legend Tengger. Chinese audiences may or may not like this film, since its not historical (at all), but Western audiences will enjoy it.
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