Movie Review: The Promise
Well it's time for me to write another Chinese film review. Now I felt like down after Jaycee Chan's imprisonment, Cecilia Cheung's divorce and so on but here's one film I thought was worth a rewatch. It's called "The Promise" which centers around Qingcheng (acted by Cecilia Cheung) who was a starving girl. She meets the Chinese goddess Mancheng who vows to give her glory and beauty but she is cursed to never find true love. When she grows up, she becomes the emperor's concubine and later finds herself in a bizarre love triangle between General Guangming (acted by JAC legend Hiroyuki Sanada who appeared in one episode of Bioman) and the servant Kunlun (acted by Korean actor Jang Donggun). This entire film was based on Pei Xing's Tang Dynasty novel called "The Kunlun Slave" and it was re-written by Chen Kaige and Charcoal Tan.
I do find this whole love triangle interesting as it's between the general and the servant Kunlun. So the story begins with the Emperor of China. The goddess Mansheng presents a prophecy which will frame up the great general Guangming which happens. The slave Kunlun dons the God of War armor and kills the lecherous Emperor of China by mistake. This of course does not sit well as everybody believes that Guangming is a traitor, which is well, I would have made that mistake too since no one else that time wore that super-duper covered God of War Armor. At the same time, we see an interesting story unfold as the past is revealed through the Veil of Time with Snow Wolf the assassin (acted by Liu Ye).
What is interesting is when Kunlun sees the past, realizing that Wuhuan was responsible for the destruction of Kunlun's family. It also gets pretty interesting with how the past unveiled itself. For one, Wuhuan is a real genocidal maniac, a real sadist with no remorse of what he does. Like a lot of Wuxia main villains, he is also badass and cunning being able to lure back Guangming back into the palace to stand for trial, for the murder of the Emperor. The trial reveals how much of a sadist and manipulative invididual Wuhuan is, and how he really makes his death so nice at the end of the film. This results to Qingcheng learning that it was Kunlun, not Guangming who saved her from the lecherous Emperor of China when Kunlun admits to the regicide itself.
The final battle itself ends up with the deaths of the main antagonist and Guangming. What is interesting is that Wuhuan was once that poor child from whom Qingcheng stole the food from... showing he's also a very petty and vindictive brat. After the final battle, the goddess Manshen appears. This time, Qingcheng chose love over fame after finding true love.
My rating? 8/10. However the movie did have issues while it was filmed in China though. =P