Like writer-producer-director Zhang Yimou's 2002 HERO, this sumptuously beautiful, period martial-arts picture is a feast for the eyes from beginning to end. But where HERO used a series of RASHOMON-like (1950) variations on a single narrative — each with its own distinct color palette — to explore the notion of self-sacrifice for the greater good, this film pivots on a romantic triangle as overwrought as it is stylized. It's like a Douglas Sirk melodrama ratcheted up with fists of fury and wrapped in apparently endless yards of shimmering silk. 859 A.D.: After 249 years, China's Tang Dynasty is in decline and rebel factions have sprung up all over the country. The ...