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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Promise: A modern Fantasy masterpiece.
The Promise is one of the finest Asian movies of recent years and strangely has gained a number of very negative reviews from various sources. Much of this stems from a misinterpretation of it as a film. Be warned, this is not a martial arts/kung fu movie,say in the vein of Hero, although it does have many excellent fight scenes. It is in fact a fairy tale told in a...
Published on 2 Aug. 2007 by Ms. Jk Coyle

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear...
Chen Keige's misbegotten The Promise is possibly the only Asian film that can make you feel sorry for producer 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...
Published on 21 Nov. 2007 by Trevor Willsmer


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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Promise: A modern Fantasy masterpiece., 2 Aug. 2007
By 
Ms. Jk Coyle "EPC" (Shropshire,UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The Promise is one of the finest Asian movies of recent years and strangely has gained a number of very negative reviews from various sources. Much of this stems from a misinterpretation of it as a film. Be warned, this is not a martial arts/kung fu movie,say in the vein of Hero, although it does have many excellent fight scenes. It is in fact a fairy tale told in a bravura style by one of the worlds best film directors. It has more in common with the original (dark) Grimm's tales than it does with any recent examples of cinema. Two of the main characters are cursed in some way by a Goddess, ensuring that the film is essentially a tragedy, albeit one with a "happy" ending.
I found this to be an incredibly uplifting visual experience, one greatly helped by one of the most beautiful soundtracks of recent years. The cinematography and image compositions are superb throughout. Approach this film with an open mind and you will enjoy what is, in my view, a genuine masterpiece of fantasy film making
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear..., 21 Nov. 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Promise [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Chen Keige's misbegotten The Promise is possibly the only Asian film that can make you feel sorry for producer 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 exploitation specialist 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 what-the-heck? award, but the bull run comes a close second.

Momentum's DVD is the cut international version, losing some 18 minutes from the original running time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 9 April 2011
By 
K. Grunwald - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Promise [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
I gave it 5 stars because i don't think one could ask for more from a movie that is clearly advertised as a fantasy.
It certainly is all that!
The martial art element is fine but mostly to support the context of the fantasy.
If you like martial arts movies or are a student of martial arts then you will not like this if you only apprecitate the violent side of such. If however you can appreciate the path to enlightenment side of martial arts and indeed have a sense of beauty then i expect you will enjoy it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A movie with a promising start, 6 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Promise [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Martial arts fantasy romantic adventure based on a story from Chinese mythology.

When the world was young, laid a Kingdom between the Land of Snow and the Barbarian Territory where gods and men lived side by side and promises were lies. When the poor and starving orphaned girl Qingcheng meets the Goddess Manshen, she accepts to become the wealthy beauty of beauties with the curse that she would lose every man she loves, unless three things happen: snow falls in the spring, time moves backwards and the dead comes back to life. Years later, the slave Kunlun helps the Great General Master of the Crimson Armor Guangming to defeat a barbarian army with almost seven times more warriors, and Kunlun becomes his slave. When Guangming is wounded, he asks Kunlun to wear his armor and save the king from the cruel Duke of the North Wuhuan that put the Imperial City under siege with his army. However, Kunlun kills the king to save Princess Qingcheng and promises her to never let her die. Princess Qingcheng falls in love for the man of the crimson armor that she believes is the real General.

This is the most expensive film in Chinese history with a budget of 282,572,490 Yuan ($35 Million). But despite that this movie pay off only half hearted feeling.

The contains a lot of beautiful colours, settings, special effect and design, but what falls down is probably the story focus on too many things, first it starts like a typical action adventure then the romance focus takes over the other half of the film then the horror focus at the ending, its not a bad thing but it slow down the exiting feeling and sometimes it makes me feel lost of what kind of movie I am watching. But that's just a small nit-pick, the movie is a promise to bring enjoyment to their audience, and a good movie to introduce the western audience to Chinese mythology.

Verdict? See it
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Promise (2005), 17 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The Promise [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
A film about the heart, and Hiroyuki Sanada's best role, in my opinion. He's the red-clad general, Guangming, who is caught up in a love triangle with the protagonist Kunlun (Jang Don Gun), and the suffering princess Qingcheng (Cecilia Cheung). Like other characters in the film, Sanada has been visited by the goddess Manshen (Chen Hong), who gives out the price of her favours. The villain is Duke Wuhan (Nicholas Tse), a despotic warlord threatening to overthrow the king. The stage is set for a dramatic, coherent story as characters struggle to save each other - a theme played upon in many Chinese films - embodied by Kunlun's unforgettable line: 'I want you to live'. And, just what is 'The promise'?

Everything in this film is as polished as Chinese lacquer. The music and visuals will appeal to people who love classical history or Koei's 'Dynasty Warriors' and 'Kessen' game styles. Even the less fantasy-afflicted can pick up on the film's sheer romance and lush photography.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed it., 2 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Promise [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Action, romance, martial arts, beautiful vibrant scenes. What's not to like. Oh did I mention the fantasy and intrigue and the price.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great fairy tale., 5 Aug. 2011
This review is from: The Promise [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
This is a lovely little fairy tale, with plenty of enjoyable cheesy bits. I think its made well enough for what it is and don't understand the sour grapes in many of the other reviews. It's not blockbuster material, but I don't think that detracts from it's charm. I watch it about 3 times a year, so it's one that I wouldn't die without, but I like to have it on hand.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Epic story, 11 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Promise [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
The Promise was fun to watch. The GCI was not great, but the story line made up for that. Nicholas Tse plays a great badie as usual, and Cecilia Cheung is a bit clichéd as the object of everyone's affection. The leading man did not have many lines but was convincing enough. The costumes were very grand but the ending left you wanting more.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 1st 20 mins of rubbish CGI but then it becomes a breathtaking, gorgeous, fantasy epic, 2 April 2013
Although directed by Chen Kaige who made `Farewell My Concubine' this is a very different film from that masterpiece (seriously `Concubine' is one of the greatest dramas ever made).
In a nutshell, it is not as action packed as House of Flying Daggers or Hero but has some amazing imagery that you will never forget and has a stronger fantasy element running through it. The story and characters are really strong, they are pure and simple but never dull. The story has a great Shakespearean quality to it, mistaken identities and star crossed lovers. The performances are all very strong and enjoyable. The viallain is wicked and the beautiful woman who breaks the hearts of all who see her truly is beautiful.
For the first 20 minutes the film relies on CGI backgrounds and action setpieces made from CGI. These look undeniably poor and pretty cheap and it is a pretty dissappointing start to the film. Lukily the CGI is quickly dropped for real things such as amazing locations, costumes, palaces filled with hundreds of extras in extravagent uniforms and jaw dropping visuals. I watched it on Blu Ray and it really shines after those first twenty minutes. I can't describe too many of the visuals as I couldn't do them justice but to give you an idea, early on the beautiful woman is kidnapped by the villian, he gives her abeautiful coat made of white feathers to wear and then locks her in what is literally a giant golden birdcage. It is a stunning image that you won't forget. Thinking back on it, there are countless images and setpieces that are so visually stunning.
It's not a masterpiece and it is only the CGI that lets it down because it is a stunning martial arts fantasy on a huge scale.
It's a great movie and one I would highly recommend on Blu Ray. The CGI in the first 20minutes may be dissapointing but the rest more than makes up for it with imagery you will never forget.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Promise, 9 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: The Promise [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
This is a Chinese epic fantasy film. Qingcheng steals food to survive when a goddess offers her the chance to live a luxurious life and be the most beautiful woman in the world. But there is a price. True love will never be hers.
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The Promise [DVD] [2005]
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