I am surprised to see suck a low average rating on this movie here. Being a huge wuxia/period fan I am naturally a little biased, but it totally blew my mind. The first half was an interesting build-up of character and plot, the second exploded into a climax I haven't seen the likes of for quite some time.
I am usually not a huge Gong Li fan but she was FANTASTIC in her role as the Empress. Chow Yun Fat was great in his role, and dare I say that Jay Chou wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting him to be.
I am hesitant to give any movie a solid 10, especially in a review that others might read for advice, but it is up up up there. 9.5 and a must-see.