Director: Zhang Yimou
Year Released: 2002
Colors and quick-cutting intensity aside, this is predominately incoherent cinema, a film told, unfortunately, in extended flashback - it also appears to be told out of chronological order, since characters come back to life after they are shown being killed (and are killed multiple times because of an unreliable narrator). It's impossible not to imagine Ashes of Time as a starting point (particularly Wong's moody posturing) and, most obviously, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (for stylistic reasons): the dialogue is mostly delivered in close-up, and most annoyingly, Yimou cuts after every clipped passage; the set-designs are so overblown (a room full of bundles of wood, a temple filled with flowing sheets) they exist only to awe and impress (the CGI isn't so believable, however). I spent the whole time waiting for the line, "Ha ha, now you die!" but it never came; big fans of Maoist subversive tactics (not preaching, "teaching") can feel free to interpret this any way they please.