The Moon Warriors (1992)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2005-07-14
Summary: A romantic tragedy with sword play to spare
A dynastic family clashes over who should rule China. Both sides are ruthless, although the insurgent 14th Prince enjoys killing for the sake of killing while the deposed 13th Prince kills when necessary and without joy. It is beautifully lit and shot and very well edited, including a lot of constructive editing during the fight scenes.

Maggie Cheung, with her flawless alabaster skin is perfect as the bodyguard to the 13th Prince. She has acting technique to burn and can express strong emotion with the smallest curl of a lip or twitch of an eyebrow.

Anita Mui, as sensous as any actress I have seen, is perfectly cast as the noblewoman caught between the feelings for the peasant (Andy Lau as Fei) and the emporer (Kenny Bee as Yen Ling). She is cold and arrogant at first but winds up risking her life to save Fei after he has been badly wounded while defending her.

Kelvin Wong is given a lot of scenery to chew as the ultra-evil 14th Prince. This over the top character not only enjoys performing exections himself but does so with panache--when the leader of the ambush in the bamboo forest returns, the Prince cuts his head off with one snap of his bow string, hits the flying severed head with an arrow which drags it through a torch and lights it on fire. An astonishing few seconds of film.

There are plenty of instances of highly skilled sword play and just enough wire work to match the fantastic characterization. Adding to the atmosphere are foggy caves that lead to the shrine over the grave of the first Yen emporer, magic crystals that heal wounds, attacks by leaping knights from beneath the ground and a pet killer whale who intervenes into the last battle at a key moment.

Very much worth seeing.
Reviewer Score: 7