The Emperor and the Assassin
The Emperor and the Assassin ★★ 1999 (R)
Sumptuous historical drama (and a complicated storyline) concerns a united China's first emperor. Set in 320 B.C., China is a collection of seven rival kingdoms with Ying Zheng, the King of Qin (Xuejian) obsessed with uniting the country and then dividing it into provinces for proper ruling (with himself as supreme head). Naturally, this means war. Also involved is his lover, Lady Zhao (Li), who plans a fake assassination attempt to aid Zheng. But the assassin she chooses, Jing Ke (Fengyi), is trying to reform and things don't go exactly according to plan. Remember—power corrupts. Mandarin with subtitles. 161m/C VHS, DVD . CH Xuejian Li, Gong Li, Fengyi Zhang, Zhiwen Wang, Sun Zhou, Chen Kaige; D: Chen Kaige; W: Chen Kaige, Wang Peigong; C: Fei Zhao; M: Jiping Zhao.