Then I watched Wu Ji/ 無極/ The Promise.
Not sure what all the griping is about it on this side, from people who swallow the frenetic idiocy and low budget cheesiness of HK wuxia with nary a murmur. But then, I don't watch this stuff for the fight scenes and I fancy they do. No, I watch for the live action manga-ness of it all, and The Promise delivers in spades. Fairy tales, lovely colours, lovely scenery, lovely sets, lovely actors, archetypal emotions rather nicely done- stuff I've seen in (my no means extensive watching of) low-budget HK fantasy wuxia, but here done high-budget and clean. Costumes that are better than operatic- they're masque-like. Music that's the same. And, umm...
...Nicholas Tse. No, I know why the reviewers don't like the film. They're western guys. Western guys are not going to appreciate the over-the-top delicious languid petulant villainousness of Nicholas Tse's Wuhuan. The lethal fans! The feathers! The little gold hand-on-a-stick that he uses to push people's chins up so he doesn't actually have to *touch* them! (Other picture here, and scroll down.)
And also a lot of erotesis where you least expect it ie among all the guys *but* Nicholas Tse. Kunlun and Snow Wolf, Kunlun and Guangming- I dunno. Carrying a guy on your back has, like, resonances; to say nothing of bear-hugs from behind the way Kunlun and Snow Wolf do it. (Oh-and-look, he's played by Ye Liu who was Fu Chai's lover in Lan Yu. He looks a lot less pretty here than the stills suggest he does there.)
Also has Sanada Hiroyuki, unseen for lo these many years since he played that homoerotic tied-up-and-unspeakably-abused scene in Nemuranai Machi- Shinjuku zame: or presumed unseen, when he actually played Doumon in Onmyouji. Which stunned me.
(What I haven't checked out is whether I was listening to both these guys dubbed. Tse I know speaks mandarin; Sanada and Jang Dong Gun not so likely.)