Firstly lets be clear about thing, this is not a martial arts movie though it has some incredible martial arts scenes that will take your breath away and leave you looking on in stunned wonder.
Also it is a foreign language film, fortunately not dubbed but with subtitles, not everyone's cup of tea but this will not stop you from enjoying ever single second of it, from the opening credits to the blood splattered ending.
The Curse of the Golden Flower is a sumptuous tale about family secrets, revenge, lust, desire, incest, adultery, power, and corruption, all wrapped up in a beautiful but very flawed package that is the Forbidden City of 10th century China.
Never before has one come across such a dysfunctional family as the Tang dynasty, the exquisite but deadly Empress Phoenix, played by the gorgeous Li Gong, the thoroughly amoral Emperor Ping, a glorious Yun Fat Chow in his element, his three sons, the weak Crown Prince Wan (Ye Liu)who has been having an affair with his stepmother, the Empress, Prince Jai, (Jay Chou) brilliant solider, and loyal son to his mother, torn between duty and love, he will make a fateful decision that will herald the beginning of the end for his family. And last but certainly not least the spoilt and unloved Prince Yu, (Junjie Qin) whose hatred of his family is cunningly disguised by his seemingly placid nature and acceptance of his lowly third son status.
Add to this mix, an Imperial Physician (Dahong Ni) with a wife (Jin Chen) whose connection to the royal household is a closely guarded secret, her daughter the lovely Chan (Man Li) who is is in love with the Crown Prince and you have the ingredients for a tragedy on a scale that can only be imagined.
With breathtaking scenery, the carpet of golden chrysanthemums has to be seen to be believed, fantastic costumes, atmospheric background music, coupled with stunning fight sequences between assassins and royal guards you will be left with your jaw hanging down as you witness the golden warriors go into battle against the Emperor and the twists and turns in a film that is none stop action and intrigue throughout.
The overall acting is without doubt perfection on celluloid, its a shame it didn't win an Oscar but sometimes Hollywood gets it wrong, and boy did they get it wrong this time!