Posted on 12/29/04 06:06 AM
Two simple words that don't hold nearly as much context anywhere else as they do in China. The words symbolize unity, pride, courage, and honor, just like this film.
Like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this is one of those rare action films that successfully melds a solid story to the action...and even transcends it. Forget (if you're able to) the terrific acting, stunningly beautiful sets and locations, and even more amazing martial arts. It's the underlying story of the birth of a nation and the selfless acts of bravery it takes to attain this goal that makes this film truly great.
Jet Li plays an unnamed prefect who has hunted down and killed three dangerous assassins who have been haunting the emperor of the province of Qin. The emperor has long sought to unite all of the Chinese provinces by whatever means necessary and these criminals had been a major obstacle. The emperor grants and audience with this unnamed man and the story unfolds about how one unknown warrior defeated them all. Or did he? Tony Leung, Margaret Cheung, and Donnie Yen play the three assassins.
Acting-wise, Jet Li, Tony Leung, and Margaret Cheung are all nothing short of amazing. And the fight sequence between Li and martial arts master Donnie Yen is something you MUST see to believe.
In the end, even if you don't quite understand the context of the film you still get to watch a masterpiece of visual beauty. If you do get it, well, it's simply breathtaking.