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

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Average Rating: 3.4/5

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Movie Info

A World Without Thieves director Feng Xiaogang shifts his focus from modern-day con artists to tenth century intrigue with this tale of internal turmoil in the age of Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms starring Zhang Ziyi, Daniel Wu, and Ge You. Her empire on the verge of a massive revolution as storms begin to brew both within the royal court as well as in the outlying kingdoms, the entrancing Empress Wan (Zhang) gazes upon her stepson, Prince Wu Luan (Wu), with the eyes of a forbidden lover rather than a caring mother. When the emperor dies an unexpected death and his younger brother Li (Ge) ascends to the throne, Empress Wan marries the newly appointed sovereign as a means of both protecting her beloved Wu Luan and cementing her position within the royal court. When assassins dispatched by Emperor Li fail in their attempt to silence Wu Luan and his majesty subsequently announces a lavish banquet, Empress Wan and Wu Luan realize that the time has finally come for them to take action against the murderous despot. The film demonstrates tremendous influence by Shakespearean plays, specifically +Hamlet and +Macbeth.


Daniel Wu
as Prince Wu Luan
Jingwu Ma
as Minister Yin Taichang
Huang Xiaoming
as General Yin
You Ge
as Emperor Li
Xun Zhou
as Qing Nu
Ziyi Zhang
as Empress Wan
Xiaoming Huang
as General Yin Sun
Zhonghe Zhou
as Chamberlain
Zeng Qiusheng
as Governor Pei Hong
Liu Yanbin
as Messenger
Ma Lun
as Pharmacist
Xiang Bin
as Imperial Guard
Zheng Chunyu
as Imperial Guard
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Critic Reviews for Ye yan (Legend of the Black Scorpion) (The Banquet)

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (3)

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

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.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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.

JY Skacto
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

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.

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer


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!!

Ginny  X
Ginny  X

Super Reviewer

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