in the same vein as the recent series of Chinese epics like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Hero" and "House of the Flying Daggers", this movie looks amazing if nothing else. It follows the story of the Emperor of China, his wife and their three sons, the crown prince being the Emperor's son from a previous wife who apparently died. The plot involves your typical sibling and family rivalries and the "interesting" relationship between the Empress and her step-son. The true fate of the crown prince's real mother and the struggle for the throne tips the plot towards a violent conclusion. This movie is more overtly violent with bloody battle scenes and seems to get a bit lost in the look as opposed to character development. I can't point out any glaring errors or weaknesses, but this movie just left me kind of weary at the end and wasn't near as enjoyable as the others mentioned. If you haven't watched these movies, you should check out Crouching Tiger or Hero just to see the cinematography and brilliant choreography of the martial arts sequences if nothing else. I don't normally watch martial arts movies, but these are more like art house films and the blocking of the various battles and stunts are some of the best I have ever seen.