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The Promise

3.6 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A new epic fantasy set in China's mythical past, "The Promise" is a visually stunning tale of passion that unfolds against a backdrop of war as a beautiful and mysterious princess becomes the object of affection for three very different men - a powerful Duke, a brave general and a lowly slave. As passions spark and egos clash, lives will be ruined and lovers spurned and no one will ever be the same.


The Promise came to American shores with endless hype about its visual splendor--and for once, the hype is deserved. Lush and luminous, almost every shot will make you want to weep from its sheer loveliness. A starving young orphan girl named Qingcheng is offered a deal by a capricious goddess: The girl will be staggeringly beautiful and have all the wealth, delicious food, and fabulous clothing she could ask for--but every man she ever loves will die. Thus begins a twisty tale in which a fleet-footed slave (Korean actor Dong-Kun Jang) and a mighty general (Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada, The White Countess) compete for the love of the adult Qingcheng (Hong Kong beauty Cecilia Cheung), while a vengeful usurper (Hong Kong star Nicholas Tse, Time and Tide) seeks to destroy them all. Like many of the classics of Hong Kong fantasy--such as A Chinese Ghost Story, Swordsman II, and Green Snake--The Promise combines the epic storylines of Chinese mythology with the headlong momentum and energetic editing of kung-fu action movies. The result can sometimes seem absurd to American audiences--though these same audiences will happily swallow the absurdities of American science fiction, simply because they're familiar with the conventions of the genre. Viewers who embrace the conventions of Hong Kong fantasy will find The Promise engaging and emotionally rich...and there's just no denying the gorgeousness. Compared with the sterile spectacle of the later Star Wars movies or the clumsy, labored Matrix sequels, The Promise bursts with human warmth, dynamic storytelling, and elegant design. More Western audiences should open themselves to its pleasures. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • "The Making of The Promise"
  • Additional scenes
  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Cecilia Cheung, Dong-gun Jang, Hiroyuki Sanada, Nicholas Tse, Ye Liu
  • Directors: Kaige Chen
  • Writers: Kaige Chen, Tan Cheung
  • Producers: Hong Chen, Buting Yang, Dong-Joo Kim, Dong-ming Shi, Ernst Etchie Stroh
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese, English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 19, 2006
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,447 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Promise" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By zx2781 on December 24, 2006
Format: DVD
Being a big a fan of Asian cinema I had read quite a few negative to luke warm reviews of this film and thought I would give it a try.

The Story is not as bad as I was led to believe. I will not go into the story description as it has been covered. It is full of the virtues that I like so much in Asian films. Honor, sacrafice, and death.

The DVD I watched was the shorter version. It includes the deleted scenes which I watched and do not feel they added or subtracted a whole lot from the story. The fact that the Asian release included them makes me wonder why they were cut out. The bothersome issue with this DVD is the film defaults to the awful english over dubs. You have to manually go into the menu and choose Chinese (Mandarin), and then designate english sub titles.

I love Crouching Tiger, Hero and House of Flying Daggers. This movie is none of those. While it has some beautiful moments it does seem 'synthethic'. If it were the directors intent to create an abstract feel he suceeded.

The CGI is deplorable. I have no problem with the fantasy aspect but this looked almost animated. Maybe Lord of the Rings ruined it for all but if this was supposed to be the most expensive movie ever made in China they could have done better. An example: the over view of the palace is a model. Absolutely obvious. The flying fights made so famous on other films of the genre are not at all fluid here, but jerky and clumsy.

All in all I watched with intrest. I had no desire to turn it off. I may have even given it three stars but I did grade it against the likes of Hero and House of Flying Daggers which may be unfair. I recommend watching it if you like the aforementioned films. My opinion may not be yours.
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Format: DVD
In the beginning a starving young girl named Qingcheng is seen prying food out of the hands of dead soldiers in a forest. While running home to share her bread with her mother she drops it in a lake. As she starts to cry the bread is brought back to her by a goddess and she tells Qingcheng to eat the bread but she will not eat because she is saving it for her sick mother. The goddess tells Qingcheng that her mother is dead and then offers her a choice of riches and beauty but all men she falls in love for will die unless she can turn back time and undo what she has just done. She's a little girl with nowhere to go and no food so of course this deal is too tempting to pass up and she accepts. A while later during a battle of a 3000 man army defeating 20,000 barbarians a slave named Kunlun with a speedy gift is discovered while trying to outrun the barbarians.

Kunlun's ability impresses general Guangming also known as "Master of the Crimson Armor" and is taken in as a slave by the general. The general has been informed that the King is being attacked by Duke Wuhuan from the north but before he can get there he is attacked by Wuhuan's assassin Snow Wolf, the general is saved by Kunlan but receives a bad wound trying to defend himself. The general can't make the journey to protect the king and sends Kunlun with his crimson armor instead. The general tells Kunlun that the king will be the only one without a weapon. Kunlun goes to protect the king and when he arrives at the palace sees a man with a sword about to kill a beautiful woman and kills him before he can get to the woman and then flees with her.
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[The following review refers to the 124 minute version released in Feb 2006, in Japan.]

`Wu Ji' (meaning `No Limitation') is an epic-scale romance directed by renowned Chen Kaige (`Farewell My Concubine' 'Together'). Like the fantasy tales of `Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' `Hero' and `House of the Flying Daggers,' you can say the film belongs to the film genre usually called `wusha,' but what is impressive about 'Wu Ji' (or `The Promise' with international title) is its cast and crew gathered for the production. But about that, later.

[STORY: LITTLE GIRL] The film opens with a memorable shot, in which an orphaned girl wanders among the dead bodies of warriors in the battlefield. The starving girl meets a beautiful but haughty deity Manshen, the Sorceress (Chen Hong, also co-producer and Chen Kaige's wife), who promises the little girl Quingcheng everything - easy life, status, etc. - on one condition. That is, Quingcheng can never get true love from anyone. And the goddess says: `Once you have accepted your destiny, nothing can alter it unless rivers flow uphill, time runs backwards, and the dead come back to life.' She accepts it, not knowing what the pact really means.

[GENERAL AND SLAVE] Years later, the film introduces us to another battlefied, a ravine where Guanming, The Mighty General (Hiroyuki Sanada `The Last Samurai') is waiting for the next battle. The army of the General is outnumbered by the enemy soldiers, but the General, overconfident and very arrogant, is saved by the miraculous work by one slave Kunlun (Jang Dong-Gun, 'The Brotherhood of War'). Greatly impressed by the superhuman power of Kunlun (who can "run" with lightning speed even on four limb), the General takes Kunlun under his wing, and continues his battles.
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