My brother told me I should watch "Warriors of Heaven and Earth" (2003). Truth to be told, I was somewhat sceptic, as his taste in movies is somewhat different to mine. All the same, I must say that in this case he was right.
This film is quite original, due to the fact that it is set in 7th-century China, but at times seems like a Western. To make it a little stranger, there are some supernatural elements that fit the plot and make this movie something that you are not likely to forget.
One of the main characters is a Japanese warrior (Kiichi Nakai) that has been in the service of the Chinese Emperor for a very long time, and that just wants to fulfill his last task before returning home. Unfortunately for him, that implies finding and killing a Chinese outlaw (Wen Jiang) that used to be a soldier, but that was condemned to death when he refused to kill a group of women and children. The two warriors play a game of cat and mouse, but decide to make a short truce in order to defend a caravan carrying a holy object, that is being attacked by bandits that want to steal it.
There are plenty of well-choreographed fights, but also opportunity to think about themes such as duty and honour. You will also appreciate the beautiful scenery of the Gobi Desert, and the brilliance with which the director (He Ping) was able to tell this story.
From my point of view, this is not a film that will only please those highly interested in Asian cinema. I think that everybody that is fond of an entertaining movie will appreciate "Warriors of Heaven and Earth", even though those who like epic films will certainly like it more. Recommended!