Wu Ji

The Promise

(China/USA, 2005; original Chinese version, 121 minutes; international version, 101 minutes)

In a mythical Chinese kingdom, a young orphan is granted wealth in exchange for happiness, meaning that she is to lose everyone she falls in love with; years later, a beloved general, his slave and an evil prince fight for her love. Strikingly inept martial arts fantasy that buries its intriguing premise, good production values and a number of respectable technical credits in incomprehensible scripting, often gratuitously grandiose handling and inexplicably sloppy trick effects. A huge hit upon release in its native China, the film was nevertheless cut by 20 minutes for international release by director Chen Kaige, mainly by trimming within scenes rather than excising whole parts.

A China Film Co-Production Corporation/Beijing 21st Century Shengkai Company/Capgen Investment Group/Moonstone Entertainment production. Starring Hiroyuki Sanada, Jang Dong-Gun, Cecilia Cheung, Nicholas Tse. Directed by Chen Kaige; produced by Yang Buting, Chen Hong, Han San Ping, Etchie Stroh; written by Chen Kaige, Zhang Tan; music by Klaus Badelt; director of photography (Cineart, widescreen), Peter Pau; production designer, Tim Yip; costume designers, Kimiya Masago, Tim Yip; film editors, Zhou Ying, Li Tang; action sequence choreographers, Stephen Tung Wei, Dion Lam; visual effects supervisor, John Chu.


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