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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) (Blu-ray) (2008)

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

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Released 26-May-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 94:42
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 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 Cantonese DTS HD High Resolution Audio 5.1
Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
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

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Hong Kong has produced a spate of excellent period action flicks throughout the latter part of the noughties. House of Flying Daggers, Red Cliff, The Warlords, and Seven Swords among the better of them. As with any such industry trend there have been plenty of also-rans trying to cash in on the same broad style. An Empress and the Warriors is one of those also-rans. The gimmick with this one being that it attempts to mix the Hong Kong rom-com formula into a period action flick. There is arguably nobody whose resume would suggest he was cut out for the job of putting this sort of thing together more than A Chinese Ghost Story director Ching Siu-tung, particularly with Donny Yen and Leon Lai (who together toplined the aforementioned Seven Swords) toplining the bill. Alas, the results are decidedly uneven.

    The film tells the tale of a princess (Kelly Chen) who is thrust into power when her father is killed and his top generals refuse to recognise his chosen successor, a general not of noble birth (Donnie Yen). The princess' cousin, an incompetent general who had plotted the death of the king, hires some shadowy chaps to arrange her demise. The princess is poisoned while out and about, only to be rescued by a doctor (Leon Lai) who lives in what looks like the leftovers of the Swiss family Robinson's abode. Romance ensues before the princess has to return to sort out the chaotic political shenanigans that her disappearance has caused.

    An Empress and the Warriors falls flat on both the comedy and action fronts. The action is of the calibre you would expect from a decent episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, which is enjoyable enough despite being uninspired and generally a bit crap. The comedy is pleasantly light, but terribly forced. The real disappointment is how poorly these two aspects hang together. The two are like chalk and cheese, which makes the movie particularly hard to get in to. The film is certainly not an outright disaster, although anyone looking for anything more than a muddled rom-com will be disappointed.

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Transfer Quality


    The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio in 1080p.

    The video looks good, but is far from reference standard. The image is reasonably sharp and shows no sign of excessive edge enhancement. Moderate grain is noticeable in the image, although it has a reasonably filmic appearance. The colour palette is somewhat drab, but is reasonable in depth and the colour balance is consistent throughout. There is an excellent level of shadow detail visible in the image and the film's dark scenes are visually some of its most impressive.

    There is no sign of compression artefacts or pixelation in the image. Aside from one or two very specks during the opening titles, the image is free from film artefacts.

    The film features forced English subtitles which cannot be turned off. The subtitles are very bright and clear, enough so as to highlight the imperfection of the rest of the image, and consistently placed within the 2.35 frame so as to allow projection to a 2.35:1 screen without losing any content.

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


    The film features a Cantonese DTS HD 5.1 audio track and a Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kbps) audio track.

The DTS is a marked improvement on the Dolby Digital, however neither is particularly impressive. There is a momentary audio dropout in the DTS track at around 4:35. The audio is a little choppy over many of the scene transitions in the film (I am unsure of whether this is due to editing of the version we are presented with locally or whether it is down to the sloppy audio production of the film generally).

    Both soundtracks lack fine detail and sound a little muddy. The dialogue is generally audible, but at an uneven level in different scenes. Whilst this will not bother anyone reading the subtitles as much as it would if they were taking the story from the spoken word, it is nonetheless distracting.

    The film features a fairly generic orchestral score, which frequently overpowers the dialogue in the film.

    The film makes chaotic use of the surrounds in the handful of battle scenes and little use otherwise. The subwoofer gets little more than dull thudding to support the action.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The disc opens with trailers for Red Cliff and Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon before playing the feature. The disc features no genuine extras, only these ads.

R4 vs R1

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

    The UK Region B Blu-ray appears to be the best edition around for special features as it includes a making of feature and theatrical trailer, however most sites list it as having the incorrect 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is a substantial sacrifice for bonus content. For providing the correct framing of the film, most viewers will be better off with the Australian Region B edition.


    A failed attempt to mix elements of a rom-com into a Chinese period action film.

    The audio is a little uneven. The video is fair, a distinct step up from DVD but far from reference material. There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
DisplayOptoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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