Kong saan mei yan (An Empress and the Warriors) (The Kingdom and the Beauty) (2008)

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Movie Info

Two very different men vie for the affection of a beautiful and powerful woman in this historical epic from Hong Kong. During the Era of the Warring States, two rival kingdoms are fighting for control of China, the Yan and the Zhao. Muyong Xuehu (Donnie Yen) is leader of the Yan armies and guides his forces to victory, but not before the Yan emperor is murdered. Muyong is declared the new emperor of the Yan territories, angering Wu Ba (Guo Xiaodong), the late leader's nephew who killed his uncle in hopes of taking the throne. There is much public discord over Muyong's appointment, so he names as his second in command Yan Fei'er (Kelly Chen), the late king's beautiful daughter and only child. Muyong is in love with Yan Fei'er and wants to protect her, but she's a brave and headstrong woman, unafraid to put herself in the heat of battle. When a would-be killer attempts to murder Yan Fei'er, she's rescued by an unlikely benefactor, Duan Lanquan (Leon Lai), an aspiring inventor who loves in the woods. Yan Fei'er falls for the clever Duan, who has invented a machine that can fly, and when she learns that the Yan kingdom is once again under attack, she must choose between her two lovers as she returns to her people's battle for freedom. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Cast

Donnie Yen
as Muyong Xuehu
Kelly Chen
as Princess Fei-Er
Leon Lai
as Don Lanquan

Critic Reviews for Kong saan mei yan (An Empress and the Warriors) (The Kingdom and the Beauty)

Audience Reviews for Kong saan mei yan (An Empress and the Warriors) (The Kingdom and the Beauty)

½

Incredibly refreshing! This movie has the perfect balance of character development, and action. It borrows heavily from nearly every genre, and culture, without getting too muddled. It's a beautifully shot, beautifully costumed movie, that has a fairytale quality. Wonderful.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Wonderful Hong Kong tale set in a time before the unification of the middle kingdom... and romantic. Although the Asian-action genre has largely worn out its novelty value since the phenomenal Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon brought it to the mainstream, the legion of eastern cinema buffs will love this big budget showcase of Hong Kong martial arts. Following in the tradition of sumptuous, pseudo-historical martial arts epics Hero and Red Cliff. Donnie Yen in the last scene is just the Mars and there have never been a character in the cinematic history as heroic as him!

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

An ambitious general assassinates his king, but when his daughter is appointed successor he attempts a coup to wrest power from her. Yet another pretender to Crouching Tiger's throne, An Empress And The Warriors probably looks great in the trailers. Some impressive art design means that the costumes and sets are very attractive and there are a couple of decent action sequences, but underneath this film is just another martial arts B-movie with window dressing. Stealing ideas from both Crouching Tiger and Gladiator, the script is so lacking in subtlety and sophistication it reminded me of a bad Disney cartoon. The peformances of all the central characters are so wooden thay make a Thunderbirds puppet look multi layered and versatile, the constant and overbearing soundtrack lurches from pomposity to schmaltz in pretty much the same way as the plot does and the dialogue is so corny it might as well have crop circles cut into it. Melodramatic, episodic and occasionally laughable (see the jaw droppingly lame hot air balloon sequence) I'm afraid that as nice as it is to look at, the beauty of this Empress is only skin deep.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

An Empress and the Warriors is one of those Hong Kong action epic costume dramas that doesn't take itself too seriously. In other words, it is good, but not great.

At a high level the story is a good one, which involves a princess taking the throne of a kingdom at war. Sadly, the film doesn't feel as epic as it sounds. At only 90 minutes, there are times where the movie is successful and those are the scenes without Leon Lai. The first 20 minutes, as well as the last 20 minutes, are where the pacing is pretty quick and all the action happens. It is in the middle where Leon Lai's dramatic scenes drag this movie down. These scenes are playful at times, however while taking a little away from the boredom, it also takes away from the seriousness that this film employs the rest of the time.

As far the action goes, there are the usual epic big battle scenes. Fortunately, there is enough in the way of one on one battles to display some good martial arts choreography. Donnie Yen, Leon Lai, and even Kelly Chen all get a chance to display some moves.

The acting is a bit of a letdown. Donnie Yen and Leon Lai are nothing special. The lovely Kelly Chen, who actually puts on an entertaining performance, adds to the childishness of the romantic drama scenes, that in the end hurt this film.

Despite some of the flaws of this picture, An Empress and the Warriors isn't a waste of time. Just don't try to hard to find a way to watch this.

JY Skacto
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

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