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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Empress and the Warriors, An (Kong saan mei yan) (2008)

Empress and the Warriors, An (Kong saan mei yan) (2008)

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Released 26-May-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 90:55
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Siu-Tung Ching
Icon Entertainment Starring Donnie Yen
Xiaodong Guo
Zhenghai Kou
Kelly Chen
Leon Lai
Weihua Liu
Shan Zhang
Bo Zhou
Jie Yan
Daichi Harashima
Yi-Yi Yang
Zhonghe Zhou
Case ?
RPI ? Music Mark Lui

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    This film is another in the ever increasing genre of Chinese historical action films. Unfortunately, An Empress and the Warriors is the weakest of these I have see to date, having been spoiled by great films like The Warlords and Red Cliff. This one features a very silly lead character, the titular Empress Fei (Kelly Chen) who veers seemingly without much thought between being a action star, soppy romantic and starry-eyed idealist who just wants everyone in ancient China to live in peace. The warriors are General Muyong (Donnie Yen) who loves Fei, Lord Wu, who wants to steal her throne and Duan Lan-Quan (Leon Lai) who has given up the sword and retired to live in the wild and (of all things) invent hot air balloons!

    The action kicks off in fine style (which makes you think you are going to see a good film) with a battle in which the current Emperor, Fei's father, is badly wounded. As he believes he will die he decides that the illegitimate Muyong should succeed him as he worries that his nephew Wu is only looking out for himself and doesn't care about his people. Wu, of course, objects to this and Muyong, sensing that the tide is against him, supports Fei to take over as Empress instead of himself becoming Emperor. This ploy is successful, however Wu bides his time and decides to have the Empress assassinated. Meanwhile, Muyong trains her as a soldier as the Empress must also be a warrior. When the assassins attempt to kill the Empress she is saved by Quan who nurses her injuries. Of course, they fall in love and she must choose between her new idyllic life and her kingdom (and of course between the men in her life).

    The biggest problem with this film is the madly veering tone from action epic to sooky soap opera and back again. After a few good opening scenes the scenes in the forest between Fei and Quan are nauseating with their over the top melodrama. The story is silly and lacks believability as does some of the acting. Donnie Yen is pretty good as Muyong but no-one else is overly impressive. The score by Mark Lui is also a significant part of the problem with this film being suitably majestic in parts but then 'Days of our Lives' in others. It really starts to annoy after a while. On more positive notes, the action scenes are generally well staged and there is some quality cinematography especially in the forest scenes.

    These sort of films often have doomed romances at their core and it may sound like I dislike that sort of plotting but on the contrary many films of this ilk I have viewed previously have done much better jobs with this sort of plot such as Bichunmoo or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. It is certainly possible to create a much better film with these basic plot ingredients than this one.

    I really can't recommend this film.


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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is good but has some issues.

    The feature is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced widescreen.This is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was quite sharp during close ups however backgrounds and action scenes were softer. The action scenes suffered from MPEG artefacts and motion blur (eg 48:10). Overall I think a higher bitrate would have helped.

    The colour was pretty good but somewhat dull.

    There was also some minor aliasing such as at 13:25.

    There are burnt-in subtitles in English which are clear and legible although some go by too quickly.

    The film is all on one layer.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio is good although there is one noticeable glitch.

    This DVD contains a Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448Kb/s (although it is coded as English on the disc).

    Dialogue seems clear and easy to understand although my knowledge of Mandarin is zero. At 4:20 there is a significant glitch in the audio where the sound breaks up and sounds distorted for a few seconds. The video is not effected.

    The score by Mark Lui is a significant problem both with the movie and the sound mix. The music is mixed mostly to the surround speakers which is overpowering and somewhat annoying especially considering the quality of the score..

    The surround speakers are mostly used for the music with most of the fight scene audio being in the front three speakers.

    The subwoofer was also used mostly for the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu is still and silent offering only chapter select.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this film includes a commentary by Bey Logan and a making of featurette plus an English dub in 5.1 in addition to the Mandarin. The Region 2 version includes the making of plus a theatrical trailer. The Region 1 is the version of choice.


    An overly melodramatic and silly historical Chinese action film.

    The video quality is good but has some issues.

    The audio quality is good but includes an ordinary mix and an obvious glitch.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, April 23, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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