Excellent period drama. A must see for any Gong Li fan.
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Move over Lady MacBeth! Gong Li's portrayal of a woman possessed by envy and ambition is a tour de force. Lady Liu (Gong Li) is one of the most devious, manipulating and unscrupulous film characters ever. Yet somehow Gong Li keeps "sucking in" even the audience, because you are caught up rooting for her without thinking. Maybe it is her "guts" or intellect, or even her willingness that to sacrifice her life for her love. Played against this struggle for power there is a sort of "Gone with the Wind" plot that slowly unfolds. (And Gong Li ,is just as feisty and maybe even more beautiful and sexier than Vivian Leigh's Scarlet.) This is also a very beautiful love story between the conquerer and the Lady Wu. (Gong Li's rival and "sister" best friend.) While western viewers may have some trouble keeping the characters straight and followning the story line early in the film, this is a great period piece. The main draw back was very small english subtitles and the letter box format. However, this is a very rare film, since virtually no video stores carry it."
DVD quality is very, very poor! Don't buy it!
B. Pua | Santa Clara, CA USA | 04/03/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"...if you're thinking of owning it, let me suggest to you to forget it. The DVD quality is soooooo bad! The subtitles are not readable. And since the transfer to DVD was not anamorphic, the image that you get is probably only 1/4 of the screen which makes the subtitles even more difficult to read. It may have been a great movie but I'll never know because I had a hard time following the dialogues or plot from such tiny subtitles."
Andrew R. Chia | Balad, Iraq | 11/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This title is one of the rarest film today. Its an excellent portrayal of chineses' dark history. If an american studio were to buy this film and refine it, it would be definately rereleased. It is better than jet li's Hero and Crouching tiger hidden dragon. It is more realistic as it focuses more on drama then action although the fight sequences were very well done for its time."