Return To Home Page
May 28, 2010
An Empress and the Warriors Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
None28/5/2010Icon FilmsChing Siu-Tung
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MA15+Donnie Yen

Click To Enlarge Image
An Empress and the Warriors is on Blu-Ray now.

Ever since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon received phenomenal success in the West, Chinese films have continued to receive Western releases, in the hopes of becoming the next Crouching Tiger or House of Flying Daggers. An Empress and the Warriors (known as Kong saan mei yan in China) is a 2008 film that has just been released on Blu-Ray. It tells a story of war and love, and while the film isn't quite up to the calibre of the aforementioned titles, it's still a decent movie that's short on depth, but large on action.

An Empress and the Warriors is set in China, in a time when different Kingdoms are battling for control of the country. Yen Feier's father is killed in a deadly battle and this makes her the monarch of his kingdom and of course, the defender of the kingdom. Yen isn't experienced and so she joins with Muyong Xuehu, in the hope that he will help defend her newly acquired kingdom. Unfortunately Yen's cousin has hired assassins to come and kill her.

Click To Enlarge Image
Battles are pretty intense...
The film (which only runs for about 90 minutes) switches genre about halfway. It begins as a drama and as Yen begins to fall in love, it becomes a romance, which, for action fans is a bit disappointing. An Empress and the Warriors is also the type of film that should really have a longer run time, as the storyline between Yen and her romantic interest feels rushed and simply tacked on, for the sake of finishing the film.

Overall though An Empress and the Warriors is a good movie. Action fans will generally be pleased and while the storyline will sometimes get in the way of the action, a lot of attention has been paid to crafting a film that is visually stunning.

Click To Enlarge Image
The Empress is great with the bow and arrow.
The transfer for An Empress and the Warriors can be a little hit and miss. The film has received a 1080p 2.35:1 AVC MPEG-4 transfer and most of the time it is clear and looks great, the film does really shine during the battle scenes.

However, at times there is some visible grain and there is edge enhancement in the film. Sometimes the film also looks a little squashed in, something unrecognisable on a smaller screen, but visibly obvious on a big screen.

An Empress and the Warriors is presented on Blu-Ray with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (16-bit/48Khz) and it provides a fairly decent audio mix although it isn't one of the best tracks we've heard. The grunts and groans and hectic battle scenes are fairly atmospheric with some use of the surround sound channels and the sub woofer on occasion. Sadly, but as is the case with almost all Blu-Ray releases there is no option for 7.1 audio which is a little disappointing.

The only other audio track on the disc is a Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0 track which, naturally, lacks the impact of the lossless track. Naturally the release includes English subtitles however not speaking Chinese we can't say if they're accurate in their translation, but they make sense.

Click To Enlarge Image
Riding into battle...
There are no special features on this disc at all, which just makes this seem like a quick release to make a few bucks. Even the menu isn't interactive, the popup menu just lets you change the audio and select scenes, so no effort has been made at all to provide a highly polished Blu-Ray release.

If you like Chinese language movies then An Empress and the Warriors is certainly worth watching, if you're an action fan then fast forward through the love and just watch the excellent action pieces.

Review By: Luke Van Leuveren


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Icon Films. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.