Synopsis by Mark Deming
Love and war conspire to create a romantic triangle in this lavish historical epic from director Chen Kaige. A young girl who has lost her parents to the violence of war bravely refuses to obey the orders of a warrior's son, and is approached by a spirit who offers her a life of wealth and power as a reward, but with a catch -- she will never know the love of a man unless she learns how to bring the dead back to life by turning back time. Two decades later, the orphaned girl has become Qingcheng (Cecilia Cheung), the adopted daughter of The King (Cheng Qian), and her nation is yet again in the grip of war. During a long and bloody battle, Kunlun (Jang Dong-gun), a slave who has been ordered to fight, proves his skill and bravery in combat, and his commander, General Guangming (Hiroyuki Sanada), rewards him by making him his personal assistant. When Guangming learns that the King is in danger, he and Kunlun set out to rescue him. Kunlun is disguised as Guangming as they prepare to fight the enemy leader Wuhuan (Nicholas Tse), who is out to assassinate the King, but when they arrive, they find that the strong-willed Qingcheng is in greater danger than the potentate as her father and his soldiers struggle to verbally and physically cut her down to size. Kunlun and Guangming impulsively rescue Qingcheng instead of the King, and as they look for a safe haven for the princess, both men fall in love with her, while both the King's forces and Wuhuan are determined to find them. Budgeted at 30 million dollars, Mo Gik (aka The Promise, Master of the Crimson Armor, and Wu Ji) was a major box-office success in China before receiving an international release.
China, commander, love, rescue, spell [magic], war