Lover Of The Last Empress (HK 1996)

Rating: **
Cast: Chingmy Yau, Tony Leung (Ka Fai), Yu Rong Guang

A brutally sadistic and exploitive film about a naive girl (Chingmy Yau) who becomes one of the emperor's concubines. She's not popular with the other girls in his harem, and when her inexperience can't satisfy the emperor she's treated even more badly (the highlight of this was scrubbing her vagina with a wire brush to make sure she didn't keep any of the emperor's sperm). She goes over the edge when one of the other girls kills her pet cat and she proceeds to viciously murder the cat killer. Then, to get revenge for everything anyone has done to her, she goes to a brothel to learn the ancient and secret arts of seduction and sexual pleasure. She uses her newfound talents to secure her position as the emperor's favorite concubine, and they eventually marry. Then she kills him and takes charge of everything. She brutally executes anyone who poses a threat to her power and sadistically executes all of the harem girls that were mean to her. By the end of the movie she's a nasty brooding bitch in charge of an entire nation. The film is great looking with wonderful cinematography, but it's really just another Category III sleaze fest parading as a period film. Chingmy Yau is still cute, but you can really tell that she's aging in the film, and has a hard time pulling off being a young ingenue. I should have probably given it three stars, but it's just so nasty and dislikable that I bumped it down to two.