Jet Li's supposed last period piece martial arts film kicks some serious @ss, people, despite the severe cutting imposed by the studio. It runs about 1 hour and 45 minutes (instead of 138 minutes) but is quickly paced, well acted, decently scripted and filmed with absolute gusto by director Ronny Yu, working with the great Yuen Woo Wing (as fight choreographer).
The action is brutal, with the aim being realism. Yes, there is wire work, but at no time do people fly around and defy gravity. The film is based in reality. Kudos the technical people as the film looks great, has incredible production design and a wonderful music score.
I really enjoyed this film. It's a shame that it is not legally available with English subtitles. Keep an eye out as eventually it will be released on DVD for all to enjoy.
I'll be looking out for the director's cut (which Ronny Yu actually handed out on DVD to friends at some festivals!).
By the way, the film is based on a true story.