The Emperor’s eunuchs have gained power and influence, the East Bureau and West Bureau spy and police the nation. They visit the shipyards, but only as a cover to execute those who would try and report their taking of bribes to the Emperor. Zhao Huai’an fights the leader of the East Bureau, defeating him and putting his head in a box and hanging it as a warning to other corrupt officials. The Emperor’s chief concubine wants them to prevent the Emperor impregnating anyone aside from her. Three pregnant courtesans have been executed, a fourth is being hunted down. Officials stop a riverboat and are about to execute a woman but a masked hero intervenes. Zhao watches from nearby and the masked hero also claims to be Zhao. The imposter helps the courtesan flee to Dragons Gate, Zhao and his followers decide to fight the West Bureau to help delay them and aid in the escape.
User Reviews: During the Ming dynasty, the corrupt imperial eunuchs are using their powers to wrongly accuse government officials and taking over the country. The eunuchs are divided into the old East Bureau and the newer West Bureau as the emperor’s all knowing spies. Zhao Huai’an (Jet Li) defeats the dictatorial leaders of the East Bureau. The West Bureau led by Yu is more skilled and chases after Zhao Huai’an. The Emperor’s chief concubine Wan refuses to let any other maids get pregnant. Pregnant maid Su Huirong escapes and gets rescued by a Zhao Huai’an impostor. Zhao Huai’an sees his impostor and Su Huirong chased by the West Bureau. They head out west and end up in the desert outpost Dragon Gate during a sand storm. There they find bandits, Mongols, crooks, thieves, and rumors of a hidden treasure.
This starts off as a battle between Zhao Huai’an and eunuch Yu. However the story keeps adding characters. It’s not incomprehensible but it is a disjointed way of story telling. The movie has plenty of CGI fights and big scenes. I’m willing to go with it until the various groups gather at Dragon Gate and I’m forced to more or less give up. It becomes a mess and I stop caring about half the people in this movie.