Three stars (R)
Jay Chou, Chow Yun-Fat, Li Gong, Qin Junjie, Man Li
The dazzling mix of colors and textures in writer/director Zhang Yimou’s (Hero, House of Flying Daggers) visually opulent 10th century soap opera helps balance out the less than impressive CGI in a few wannabe breathtaking outdoor scenes. The melodrama within the wildly dysfunctional royal family is involving, if a bit slow in spots. Visuals of ninjas attacking from above help jazz up the been-there battles. Even if you hate everything else, Yimou’s near-psychedelic sets and layered, deliberately claustrophobic interior staging is worth a look-see. 114 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes a behind-the-scenes featurette.