An Empress and the Warriors
(15) 91min (Showboat DVD retail)
A sentimental story about honour and decency, duty and obligation, Tony Ching Siu Tung’s film is perfectly well made on its own terms, and even manages moments of surprising emotion amid the lazily maudlin.
When the emperor dies, his upper-crust army vets won’t accept his choice of successor because he is too lowly born. Instead, his daughter is forced to take over. The empress would rather while her time in the woods, falling in love with a doctor who finds her injured. But duty beckons when it’s time to deal with feuding factions and traitors in her own ranks.
Although it has the feel of an epic in its themes and sweeping camerawork, An Empress and the Warriors comes in at a snug hour-and-a-half. If the faintest of praise is that it doesn’t outstay its welcome, it is hardly an insult at a time when so many films run half an hour longer than necessary. Extras include ‘making of’ documentary.