Curse of the Golden Flower, from director Zhang Yimou, is a visually stunning movie and unfortunately that’s it. Empress Phoenix, played by the beautiful Gong Li, is unhappy being married to Emperor Ping, played by Chow Yun-Fat, and in turn plots to get rid of her husband which trying to get her favorite son Prince Jie, played by Jay Chou, crowned as emperor. The plan must also include the elimination of her stepson, the Crown Prince, played by Liu Ye, which she is willing to do in spite of the fact that they’ve been secret lovers for the past three years.
The Emperor is plotting his own schemes as well, having his doctor tainting the Empress’ medication, with the hopes of driving her crazy. If assassination and counter-assassination plots aren’t enough, they throw in massive battles, more affairs, flying ninja warriors, surprises from the past, and a finale at the opulent Chrysanthemum Festival.
Everything in this film is taken to the extreme, from the melodrama to the number of extras and it adds nothing to the story. The cinematography and the sets are also done to the extreme and are visually stunning, but again it adds nothing to the story. The film was too long for its own good, and at times you were waiting for the final execution to occur just so you could turn it off. Curse of the Golden Flower was a HUGE disappointment.