The Promise (Master of Crimson Armor) (Wu ji) (2005)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: An incoherent plot and ridiculously obvious CGI effects doom this effort from the usually outstanding Chinese director Chen Kaige.

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Movie Info

Love and war conspire to create a romantic triangle in this lavish historical epic from director Chen Kaige. A young girl who has lost her parents to the violence of war bravely refuses to obey the orders of a warrior's son, and is approached by a spirit who offers her a life of wealth and power as a reward, but with a catch -- she will never know the love of a man unless she learns how to bring the dead back to life by turning back time. Two decades later, the orphaned girl has become Qingcheng (Cecilia Cheung), the adopted daughter of The King (Cheng Qian), and her nation is yet again in the grip of war. During a long and bloody battle, Kunlun (Jang Dong-gun), a slave who has been ordered to fight, proves his skill and bravery in combat, and his commander, General Guangming (Hiroyuki Sanada), rewards him by making him his personal assistant. When Guangming learns that the King is in danger, he and Kunlun set out to rescue him. Kunlun is disguised as Guangming as they prepare to fight the enemy leader Wuhuan (Nicholas Tse), who is out to assassinate the King, but when they arrive, they find that the strong-willed Qingcheng is in greater danger than the potentate as her father and his soldiers struggle to verbally and physically cut her down to size. Kunlun and Guangming impulsively rescue Qingcheng instead of the King, and as they look for a safe haven for the princess, both men fall in love with her, while both the King's forces and Wuhuan are determined to find them. Budgeted at 30 million dollars, Mo Gik (aka The Promise, Master of the Crimson Armor, and Wu Ji) was a major box-office success in China before receiving an international release.
Rating:
PG-13 (for stylized violence and martial arts action)
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Box Office:
$632,879.00
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Hong Chen
as Manshen
Ye Liu
as Snow Wolf
Hiroyuki Sanada
as Gen. Guangming
Nicholas Tse
as Wuhuan
Cecilia Cheung
as Princess Qingcheng
Dong-gun Jang
as Kunlun
Xiaotong Guan
as Young Quingcheng
Guan Xiaotong
as Young Quincheng
Li Jing
as Kunlun's Mother
Jing Lili
as Kunlun's Mother
Yu Xiaowei
as Yeli
Quian Bo
as One-eye
Lei Shi
as Young Wuhuan
Qian Cheng
as King
Liu Yeh
as Snow Wolf
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News & Interviews for The Promise (Master of Crimson Armor) (Wu ji)

Critic Reviews for The Promise (Master of Crimson Armor) (Wu ji)

All Critics (77) | Top Critics (29)

Has been criticized by some reviewers for its low-tech special effects. Curiously, I found this technical transparency part of the film's enormous charm.

May 25, 2006
New York Observer
Top Critic

Chen Kaige clearly intended this Chinese fantasy-action spectacle to top Zhang Yimou's Hero, and I must admit that I prefer it to the earlier movie.

Full Review… | May 5, 2006
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The Promise is too full of frenetic disconnection and arbitrary comings and goings to connect meaningfully with the hearts and minds of its audience.

Full Review… | May 5, 2006
Washington Post
Top Critic

With The Promise Chen Kaige has proven enough of a professional that he can make the product. But he remains too much of an artist not to scribble on his signature.

Full Review… | May 5, 2006
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Chen's strength seems to be more with character-driven stories; here's hoping that his next film returns to more comfortable ground.

Full Review… | May 5, 2006
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Laden with a plot that could generously be called silly or, less forgivingly, stupid, it never achieves lift-off despite numerous scenes of warriors doing battle in midair.

Full Review… | May 5, 2006
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Promise (Master of Crimson Armor) (Wu ji)

A famous and well respected general and his faithful slave vie for the affections of a beautiful princess while battling the evil ruler of their land. Inevitably trying to ape the epic scale and poetry of the likes of Crouching Tiger or Hero, The Promise is actually just a dim-witted fairy tale populated with badly acted cartoon characters who spout inane fortune cookie platitudes at one another. Visually, the costume design is as attractive as you'd expect but there's also some very dodgy set design and an overuse of awful, cheap looking CGI. There is no narrative flow or even logic to the story and Kaige Chen is clearly just a hack Michael Bay wannabe, making this stir-fried turkey one of the worst examples of the Americanization of Asian cinema I've yet seen. Avoid.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

½

In a world where people running as fast as the wind drag girls on leashes behind them like kites anything's possible. So no one should make the mistake and compare this to fantastic but somewhat historical movies like Hero. This is pure fantasy, even without made-up creatures. The plot of the cursed girl between three men isn't entirely new but the story remains rather unpredictable in all its craziness. It's not always entirely certain why the characters act the way they do, but each and every frame of this movie looks like a frikkin picture. Its picture should be in dictionaries under eye candy. The stunningly beautiful cinematography, sets, costumes and design combined with a pompous soundtrack make up for a lot of plot holes and create a larger than life experience of epic proportions. When the ugly guy in black is not the villain and the pretty bad guy still has the feather-like hairdo after taking his helmet off you realize you're in the middle of a real life manga. The result is so very entertaining, that all its flaws are easily ignored.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

This film was pretty much terrible considering who directed it and its insanely high production budget. The effects were horrible and so was this movie.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

Super Reviewer

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