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"CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER"
(2006) (Gong Li, Chow-Yun Fat) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None Heavy Extreme *Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Moderate None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate None Extreme Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Family turmoil, treachery, and treason threaten to destroy a 10th century royal Chinese monarchy.
PLOT:
It's the early 10th century of China's Tang Dynasty and The Emperor (CHOW YUN-FAT) and his second son Prince Jai (JAY CHOU) have returned, following Jai's long absence, to the palace on the eve of the chrysanthemum festival. While the Empress (GONG LI) is happy to see her son, she's far less so regarding her husband. That's not only due to their marriage being a loveless one, but also because she's carrying on a secret love affair with his son from a previous marriage, Crown Prince Wan (LIU YE). However, Wan is also having a fling with Chan (LI MAN), the daughter of the Imperial Doctor (NI DAHONG) who's slowly but surely poisoning the Empress' daily medicine following the Emperor's orders.

While the Empress may seem doomed, Prince Jai -- who's unaware of the poisoning -- is concerned about her well-being, unlike young Prince Yu (QIN JUNJIE) who's jealous of being third in line for the thrown. When the Imperial Doctor's Wife (CHEN JIN) -- who has a past ax to grind with the Emperor -- informs the Empress of the plot to kill her, that sets into motion a series of events that threaten to undermine the monarchy as well as the lives of the entire royal family.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens may want to, as might anyone who's a fan of someone in the cast and/or of martial arts genre films.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • CHOW YUN-FAT plays the stern emperor who doesn't love his wife and instead is having her poisoned. When he learns of her plan to overthrow his rule, he sets into motion a plan that will forever change their and their sons' lives.
  • GONG LI plays his long-suffering wife who's having an affair with the Crown Prince and eventually learns that her husband is poisoning her. She then sets out to overthrow him.
  • JAY CHOU plays the Emperor's second and more favored son who worries about his mother and eventually sides with her against his father.
  • LIU YE plays the Crown Prince who's not only having an affair with his stepmother, but also with Chan.
  • CHEN JIN plays the Imperial Doctor's wife who has a long-standing grudge against the Emperor and informs the Empress of his plans against her.
  • NI DAHONG plays her husband, the Imperial Doctor who's poisoning the Empress through her daily medicine following orders from the Emperor.
  • LI MAN plays their daughter who's having a secret affair with the Crown Prince.
  • QIN JUNJIE plays the royal family's youngest son who's jealous of being third in line for the crown and thus overlooked most of the time.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this martial arts drama that's been rated R. There isn't any profanity and only a handful of colorful phrases. Several affairs (including between a woman and her adult stepson) are referenced, while we see one young man and woman briefly fooling around. Many of the women display a great deal of cleavage throughout the film in their period outfits.

    Violence consists of various attacks and epic battles where many people are killed, while martial arts style fighting also occurs, there are attempted and successful suicides, and a husband is slowly trying to poison his wife to death. Some of that has rather bloody results, and those scenes and other moments of potential peril may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers. Additionally, some of the martial arts fighting and other stunts may be enticing for some kids to imitate.

    Various bad attitudes are present, directly related to all sorts of tense family material including a loveless marriage, an attempted homicide, familial treason and several deaths.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some occasional, handheld camerawork in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see that the Imperial Doctor's Wife has a large branding mark on her face from sometime in the past.
  • There's some blood at the points of impact after two thrown swords impale a man's back.
  • Crown Prince Wan tries to commit suicide by stabbing himself in the chest or neck (with bloody results, but we hear the wound was not fatal and thus see him again later, although he's weakened by his earlier act).
  • Crown Prince Wan has a little blood on the bandaging or clothing over his (above) chest or neck wound.
  • Chan has a little blood on her head after being attacked.
  • A woman is struck by a sword (with bloody results), while another is hit with two swords (with bloody results), but she manages to kill her assailants by hitting or slicing their throats (we see brief blood fly out from both). Spears are then thrown into many people, including the Imperial Doctor's Wife.
  • Prince Yu runs a sword through his oldest brother, mortally wounding him (with bloody results, including from the mouth), angrily asking who ever loved him (Prince Yu).
  • During a battle, we see a fair amount of blood, including some spraying onto adjacent walls, etc.
  • After a two-person fight, there appears to be some blood on the body armor worn by one.
  • We see some additional bloodletting during a battle, including some spraying onto adjacent flowers.
  • Prince Jai emerges from an immense pile of dead soldiers and he's covered in their and his blood (on his body armor as well as his head, etc.).
  • Many soldiers are executed with swords (we don't see the impact, but do see the bodies fall as well as some blood come out of one's head).
  • After an epic battle, dead bodies are removed from the palace and water is used to wash away the leftover blood.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • We hear that the Empress has been having an affair with Crown Prince Wan, her stepson, for several years.
  • We hear that through the Imperial Doctor and Chan, the Emperor has been slowly poisoning the Empress with black fungus ground into her medicine, designed to cause the loss of her mental faculties and eventually her life (we see that it makes her feel ill, sweat, and have shaky hands).
  • The Emperor sends assassins to kill the Imperial Doctor and his family.
  • The Empress and Prince Jai plot to unseat the Emperor.
  • The Emperor gives Prince Jai the option of having his life spared as long as he's the one who has to give his mother her poisoned medicine every day.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Swords/Spears/Arrows/Hooks: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound, or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You (raving) lunatic" and "You truly are insane."
  • The martial arts moves and other stunts might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate, as might the poisoning.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of dramatic and some suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • The Empress shows abundant, corseted cleavage throughout the film, as does Chan, while many miscellaneous women do the same.
  • We hear that the Empress has been having an affair with Crown Prince Wan, her stepson, for several years.
  • We see that Crown Prince Wan and Chan are having a secret fling. While in his chambers, they do a bit of fooling around (she seems to open his robe and attire down near his crotch but we don't see any contact), while he has his finger around her lips and she playfully tries to bite it. When the Empress gets wind of this, she immediately goes there, causing Crown Prince Wan and Chan to scramble to grab their clothing (his bare chest is seen, while she's in her corset showing lots of cleavage).
  • The Empress wants Crown Prince Wan to wear a special robe she's made for him, but he refuses and they struggle over it. When they stop, they nearly kiss, but he then rushes off.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see that the Emperor and the Empress don't get along as royal husband and wife, with him saying if she wasn't the daughter of a king of another land, he wouldn't put up with her disobedience (about taking the medicine he's prescribed for her and that it's done no good for the past 10 years).
  • We learn (but they don't, at least until later) that Crown Prince Wan and Chan, who are lovers, are also half-siblings.
  • Prince Jai is torn when he learns that his father has been poisoning the Empress.
  • The Empress wants Crown Prince Wan to wear a special robe she's made for him, but he refuses and they struggle over it. When they stop, they nearly kiss, but he then rushes off.
  • Crown Prince Wan is upset with the Empress, telling her his father was right in that she should have taken her medicine to make her die. He then angrily says she always wanted him to die and she admits to just that. Distraught over that and because he thinks others will think he planned his mother's upcoming coup attempt, he then tries to commit suicide by stabbing himself in the chest or neck (with bloody results, but we hear the wound was not fatal and thus see him again later, although he's weakened by his earlier act).
  • The Emperor tells the Crown Prince that he knows of his affair with his wife, but thinks that she seduced him.
  • Crown Prince Wan learns that the Imperial Doctor's Wife is his mother and did not die long ago as told to him by his father.
  • Prince Yu runs a sword through his oldest brother, mortally wounding him (with bloody results, including from the mouth), angrily asking who ever loved him (Prince Yu).
  • Prince Yu tries to attack his father with a sword, but the Emperor easily avoids the thrusts. He then stabs some sort of large pin into Prince Yu and then smacks him to the floor. The Emperor then repeatedly hits Prince Yu on the ground, but then realizes he's wearing body armor and then hits him again (we don't see the impact of that latter hit). Later, we see him repeatedly flogging him with a heavy, metallic sort of belt (or something similar) and there appears to be some blood on that body armor (Prince Yu is lying face down).
  • A father cries over the death of his adult son.
  • The Emperor gives Prince Jai the option of having his life spared as long as he's the one who has to give his mother her poisoned medicine every day.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • We hear the Empress is sick with anemia.
  • Incest.
  • The comment that everything abides by its own law.
  • We learn (but they don't, at least until later) that Crown Prince Wan and Chan, who are lovers, are also half-siblings.
  • Royalty.
  • Ancient China and its various dynasties.
  • VIOLENCE
  • The Emperor and Prince Jai do some rough sparring with swords while wearing heavily armored suits that deflect the sword blades. There are several close calls during this, but it's of a ceremonial nature rather than with the intent to kill (although, at times, it seems like the latter). This ends with the Emperor kicking Prince Jai backwards.
  • We hear that through the Imperial Doctor and Chan, the Emperor has been slowly poisoning the Empress with black fungus ground into her medicine, designed to cause the loss of her mental faculties and eventually her life (we see that it makes her feel ill, sweat, and have shaky hands).
  • Crown Prince Wan and the Imperial Doctor's Wife briefly battle when he discovers her in the palace and gives chase. Some punches and kicks are blocked, the chase continues, and he then kicks her back where the fight stops when she's surrounded by royal guards.
  • The Imperial Doctor's Wife slaps the Emperor.
  • The Empress wants Crown Prince Wan to wear a special robe she's made for him, but he refuses and they struggle over it. When they stop, they nearly kiss, but he then rushes off.
  • We see royal assassins sliding down lines toward the Imperial Doctor's new home. They then encounter and strike others with their swords, but there's no blood. That's then followed by a large battle between them and others, where people are sliced, stabbed and/or have their throats slit, but there's no blood seen (although we hear the gushy sound of the latter). As the Imperial Doctor and his wife try to escape on horseback along with others, the assassins swing after them through a valley via ropes, with both horses and the people on them crashing to the ground when they're hit or tripped by large hooks on the ends of ropes. Thrown swords impale one man in the back and he gets off to fight others, but is quickly killed after being encircled (we don't see much of the impact or death). The assassins then pursue the Imperial Doctor's Wife, but waiting soldiers fire many arrows into the swinging assassins, killing them (they fall to the ground).
  • Crown Prince Wan is upset with the Empress, telling her his father was right in that she should have taken her medicine to make her die. He then angrily says she always wanted him to die and she admits to just that. Distraught over that and because he thinks others will think he planned his mother's upcoming coup attempt), he then tries to commit suicide by stabbing himself in the chest or neck (with bloody results, but we hear the wound was not fatal and thus see him again later, although he's weakened by his earlier act).
  • Angry about her hands being shaky, the Empress swipes a pan of hairpins off a table and to the floor.
  • Assassins try to capture Chan, holding swords on her and then grabbing her with hooks on ropes that are then used to pull her up off the floor (while surrounded). The Imperial Doctor's Wife then arrives and fights them off to save her daughter. Guards then arrive to fight the assassins, and during the battle, Chan is struck by a sword (with bloody results), while the Imperial Doctor's Wife is hit with two swords (with bloody results), but she manages to kill her assailants by hitting or slicing their throats (we see brief blood fly out from both). Spears are then thrown into many people, including the Imperial Doctor's Wife.
  • Prince Yu runs a sword through his oldest brother, mortally wounding him (with bloody results, including from the mouth), angrily asking who ever loved him (Prince Yu).
  • A young man is struck by swords.
  • A massive battle takes place where many people are struck by swords, arrows, spears or other sharp objects during hand to hand combat as well as by weapons fired or thrown from afar. Throats are also slit (no blood), and many swords on ropes strike one person.
  • Prince Yu tries to attack his father with a sword, but the Emperor easily avoids the thrusts. He then stabs some sort of large pin into Prince Yu and then smacks him to the floor. The Emperor then repeatedly hits Prince Yu on the ground, but then realizes he's wearing body armor and then hits him again (we don't see the impact of that latter hit). Later, we see him repeatedly flogging him with a heavy, metallic sort of belt (or something similar) and there appears to be some blood on that body armor (Prince Yu is lying face down).
  • We see more battling between two large armies, where people are impaled, sliced, etc. but without much blood seen this time.
  • The palace army moves a huge wall toward the attacking army, essentially squashing them into a tight space where hand to hand combat continues, while spears and arrows are thrown and fired into the crowd.
  • Prince Jai fights many of the Emperor's soldiers, but since they've been ordered to take him alive, they can't stop him as easily as would otherwise be possible.
  • Many soldiers are executed with swords (we don't see the impact, but do see the bodies fall as well as some blood come out of one's head).
  • A man slits his own throat with a sword.



  • Reviewed December 11, 2006 / Posted January 19, 2007

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