Of course my devoted liegemen apart from being fearsome men with very little moral values and an inexplicable for blood - would also be extremely handsome, well-built, virile ( bearing a strong resemblance to Huang Xiao Ming ) and highly-sexed. All lean, mean fighting machines, but not averse to a bit of man-lovin in my Palace of MenmEnmeN ( to paraphrase a famous flying fairy :) ). But that's something else entirely.
Big bad kahuna, I know. But that's certainly the meaty role that was played by Chow Yuen Fatt in Zhang Yimou's latest ancient Chinese historical epic, the Curse of the Golden Flower. Taking place during the Tang Dynasty when nubile maidens purportedly jiggled around in their scandalously low corsets while their male counterparts marched around covered from head to toe in miles of golden armour, Chow plays Emperor Ping, a quietly menacing ruler who tyrannizes over all including his seemingly subjugated family of three ambitious sons and his outwardly quiescent wife with a penchant for embroidery and black fungus.
Not sure why but lately cuckolding Chinese empresses seem to be all the rage, especially with underaged stepsons but the gloriously bedecked palace is certainly filled to the brim with deceit, betrayal, manipulation, rebellion, and murder. Almost deliciously Shakespearean even! Of course when you have a glorious, passionate empress played by the amazingly luminescent Gong Li, it would be near impossible to refuse, even when she persists on stitching endless chrysanthemums despite her failing health. Surely no empress has remained so effortlessly regal, even standing alone at the end with everything tumbling down to shambles around her.
Would you follow me to battle?
Though the role of the shockingly dutiful son torn between his fractious parents ( not the incestuous prince fortunately ) would have been better played by an actor of higher calibre - especially next to noted luminaries such as Gong Li and Chow Yuen Fatt, pop starlet Jay Chou still managed to surprise me with his acting prowess. Personally I do think he should have taken the role of the Crown Prince instead since he just doesn't seem to have the commanding presence required by his role.
Perhaps someone like Huang Xiao Ming would have made a more believable Captain of the Guards. I'd certainly follow him to battle :P