The incredible Great Wall of China, the buried Terra Cotta Army near Mount Li, the massive national road system of China all have something in common. They came out of the monarchy of Qin Shi Huang (Ying Zheng), who became the first emperor of a unified China. This dramatic movie was massive on several levels. The historical factor was fascinating to me and the drama in the king’s life played out like a Shakespeare tragedy. He was the man who conquered the several kingdoms of China to create one unified country, going from a king to an emperor. The underlying story in this overwhelming production was about a plan the king formed with his concubine, where he would send her to hire an assassin to kill him. The goal was to use the attempted assassination as a catalyst to attack one of the kingdoms. While the concubine Lady Zhao, played by the incredible Li Gong as Gong Li (Raise the Red Lantern, Memoirs of a Geisha) was away, she discovered the king’s compassion was a facade. Playing the king was Xuejian Li (The Blue Kite, Happy Times), who brought a dramatic flair to his role. There were many aspects to this period film that were enormous. From the sets to the amount of extras, the film portrayed what I imagined the royal court must have been like back in those days. My attention was completely captured by this film with its huge battles, royal secrets, political backstabbing and historical significance. There were some scenes with blood. Chinese with English subtitles.
3 1/2 stars — DVD