Lover of the Last Empress (1995)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2006-12-22
Summary: Historical if not very erotic....
"Lover of the Last Empress" is a category III film starring the pin-up beauty Chingmy Yau and Tony Leung Ka-Fei. When Yu Lan (Chingmy) becomes a concubine of the emperor (Yu Rong-Guang), she is thrust into the midst of a cut-throat environment where anything and everything is done to get into the personal graces of the emperor. Being a relative novice in the bedroom compared to the other concubines, she fakes an illness and returns to the country where she employs the services of two of the most famous prostitutes to help her in her quest. When she returns, she manages to impress the emperor enough to become his favorite and eventually bears him a son. She also decides that this is the time that she is going to exact revenge on everyone that has crossed her in the past, and manages to find gruesome ways to do so, all while using the emperor's brother (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) in political maneuverings to solidify her power. Yes, this is the Empress Dowager we've come to know and love.

Being a Cat III film, I expected something akin to Sex & Zen, but this is nowhere as titillating. Chingmy is very cute and there are a few erotic scenes, but if that's what you're watching the movie for you'll be disappointed. This is more of a retelling of a historically favorite story with a bit of sex thrown in. Chingmy is decent, but her transformation from a naive concubine to the ruthless Empress Dowager was a little too sudden and hard to believe. Tony Leung Ka-Fei doesn't add anything extra to his portrayal of Prince Kung and seems to be a little bored with the proceedings. The positives of this movie are the costumes, sets and ruthlessness of the characters in their quest for absolute power.

7/10
Reviewer Score: 7