DVD: The Promise (15)

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The Independent Culture

The kind of barnstorming action magic that made Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon such a success is sprinkled over this, the most spectacular and expensive film in Chinese cinematic history.

And what a treat it is, too – stampeding bulls, battling warriors soaring their way through treetops, a beautiful princess, not to mention awe-inspiring displays of martial arts. The crux is a love triangle involving the vainglorious general Guangming, his shaggy slave Kunlun and Princess Qingcheng. Operating in a curious landscape between opera and cartoon, there's something of a convoluted plot but that's the least you'd expect from such a transparently epic turn. The stunning cinematography more than compensates for any mild loss of understanding along the way.

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