A new epic fantasy set in China's mythical past, "The Promise" is a visually stunning tale of passion that unfolds against a backdrop of war as a beautiful and mysterious princess becomes the object of affection for three ... more »very different men - a powerful Duke, a brave general and a lowly slave. As passions spark and egos clash, lives will be ruined and lovers spurned and no one will ever be the same.« less
"Being a big a fan of Asian cinema I had read quite a few negative to luke warm reviews of this film and thought I would give it a try.
The Story is not as bad as I was led to believe. I will not go into the story description as it has been covered. It is full of the virtues that I like so much in Asian films. Honor, sacrafice, and death.
The DVD I watched was the shorter version. It includes the deleted scenes which I watched and do not feel they added or subtracted a whole lot from the story. The fact that the Asian release included them makes me wonder why they were cut out. The bothersome issue with this DVD is the film defaults to the awful english over dubs. You have to manually go into the menu and choose Chinese (Mandarin), and then designate english sub titles.
I love Crouching Tiger, Hero and House of Flying Daggers. This movie is none of those. While it has some beautiful moments it does seem 'synthethic'. If it were the directors intent to create an abstract feel he suceeded.
The CGI is deplorable. I have no problem with the fantasy aspect but this looked almost animated. Maybe Lord of the Rings ruined it for all but if this was supposed to be the most expensive movie ever made in China they could have done better. An example: the over view of the palace is a model. Absolutely obvious. The flying fights made so famous on other films of the genre are not at all fluid here, but jerky and clumsy.
All in all I watched with intrest. I had no desire to turn it off. I may have even given it three stars but I did grade it against the likes of Hero and House of Flying Daggers which may be unfair. I recommend watching it if you like the aforementioned films. My opinion may not be yours."
Great Concept But Fails In The End
Keith A. Jones | Philadelphia PA | 05/29/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"In the beginning a starving young girl named Qingcheng is seen prying food out of the hands of dead soldiers in a forest. While running home to share her bread with her mother she drops it in a lake. As she starts to cry the bread is brought back to her by a goddess and she tells Qingcheng to eat the bread but she will not eat because she is saving it for her sick mother. The goddess tells Qingcheng that her mother is dead and then offers her a choice of riches and beauty but all men she falls in love for will die unless she can turn back time and undo what she has just done. She's a little girl with nowhere to go and no food so of course this deal is too tempting to pass up and she accepts. A while later during a battle of a 3000 man army defeating 20,000 barbarians a slave named Kunlun with a speedy gift is discovered while trying to outrun the barbarians.
Kunlun's ability impresses general Guangming also known as "Master of the Crimson Armor" and is taken in as a slave by the general. The general has been informed that the King is being attacked by Duke Wuhuan from the north but before he can get there he is attacked by Wuhuan's assassin Snow Wolf, the general is saved by Kunlan but receives a bad wound trying to defend himself. The general can't make the journey to protect the king and sends Kunlun with his crimson armor instead. The general tells Kunlun that the king will be the only one without a weapon. Kunlun goes to protect the king and when he arrives at the palace sees a man with a sword about to kill a beautiful woman and kills him before he can get to the woman and then flees with her. Kunlun eventually is cornered by Wuhuan's men and is told if he jumps into the waterfall behind him the princess will live but before he jumps he promises the princess he will never let her die.
This is one movie that had the money, a cool plot, and even had a good cast to support it. I think the first mistake was the director went crazy with his budget and though I do realize this is a fantasy movie but there is just too much. There was too much CGI and it was done ridiculously bad, there were fight scenes but they were bad fight scenes. The fights were awfully choreographed like the director got his child to choreograph the scenes for him. You could barely see anything when there was a fight because there was a weird cinematography that was used during the scenes, it will remind you of the type in "Warriors of Virtue" used in a bad way. The story goes everywhere before it ends, the princess's character is written poorly. She's supposed to be in deep love but how does fall in love with a guy she just met and then fall in love with another guy.
The thing with "The Promise" is not the back-story because it is interesting but the way it develops is crazy its too slow and makes feelings unrealistic. How can you truly believe that the princess is in love when she just met the guy and even worse isn't even the guy that she thinks saved her. Despite a bad script the actors keep you interested in the film until the end. The settings are undoubtedly beautiful, which is noticed right from the beginning, but the CGI should have been scrapped and done with more taste. The fights which were suppose to be a big part of this film could have helped give this film more interest and life but that fails. All you will be watching this film for is its gorgeous settings."
Movie is mindblowing
M. Teasdale | Waukesha, Wi United States | 06/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this movie is absolutly mindblowing. i love it. being a fan of jang dong-gun, i found this movie great. the characters were fantastic, the special effects were amazing, and the story is a little out there, but very enjoyable. I would like to let everyone know that his is a FANTASY story and meant to be one. Critics and other reviewers, get an open mind. I appreciate the hard work put into this film."
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 12/28/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Chen Keige's misbegotten The Promise is possibly the only Asian film that can make you feel sorry for Harvey Weinstein, who pre-brought the film before realizing that he'd made a big mistake on seeing the end result. It's hard not to think that all that bad karma from cutting Asian films to ribbons finally caught up with him with this one. I should have known what to expect when I saw Etchie Stroh's name as one of the producers. It's not a total loss, but it is a helluva mess just on a technical level, boasting probably the worst CGI effects in a big budget film. Some of them look just one step up from animatics or late 80s arcade games, while the opening stampede plays like a Road-Runner cartoon crossed with an early Neolithic cave painting. But then the sound mixing is sometimes equally awkward, leaving you with the impression that the film was rushed into completion in the hopes of scoring some Oscar nominations that they didn't quite manage to finish any it. Of course, it is just possible that everyone concerned saw what a totally bonkers movie this is and decided to sneak home early from work each day.
It's not fair to describe it as Asia's Alexander, because although often horribly executed, there was a governing intelligence behind that. By contrast, this seems more of a cynical attempt to capture a slice of the international market Zhang Yimou and Ang Lee cornered with a fantasy epic cum fairytale. Unfortunately, despite a promising initial premise and mostly game performances, Kaige really isn't suited to this kind of material and seems to be throwing in elements simply because they worked in other people's hit movies. There are a few good moments - the wall of time flashback, the ending - but most of it is just so bizarrely wrong that you just go on watching to see what comes up next. I think rescuing the heroine from her giant gilded birdcage, wrapping her in feathers and then running with her flying like a kite on a string probably takes the WTF? award, but the bull run comes a close second. "
CB | 08/05/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Having seen "Hero" and "House of the Flying Daggers," I expected a great deal out of "The Promise." The story combines a number of interesting folk tale-esque elements - a princess who, at an early age, chose to be beautiful but, in return, is cursed at love; a brash and boastful warrior-virtuoso and his servant, who can run faster than the wind; and their opposite numbers, a cruel villain who seeks a secret only the brash warrior's servant can reveal. As the plot unfolds, a love triangle and cases of mistaken identity ensue, leading to a fairly emotional climax. The story, however well-conceived, ultimately falls flat and fails to deliver on its early promise. The film's production design and special effects also leave a great deal to be desired, making the daring-do of the heroes frequently appear laughable. Indeed, for an action film, there are also very few battle scenes to break up the monotony. Those interested in a good kung fu movie would do better to check out either a massive epic the likes of "Hero," or a romp such as "Iron Monkey.""