John Woo does a fantastic job directing this film, which I watched after cooking up and devouring a t-bone steak I had marinated all night before. I served it up with some sautéed mushrooms, garlic, and bell peppers... but I'm digressing.
The acting is superb. I don't know any of the names, but I recognized the face of the actor that played in one of my favorite movies brought to the U.S. by Quentin Tarantino, "Hero", starring Jet Li. Yes, this movie is somewhat fantasy, playing into the larger-than-life personae of the hero Generals, Viceroys, Dukes, and featuring your standard evil bad guy, the one that unites all of the good and virtuous against him.
What sets this flick apart is that, while it's 5 hours long if both parts are viewed back-to-back, it doesn't feel like it. It moves along, and the anticipation built to showcase the final battle is not betrayed by the scope and scale of the battle itself.
This was a fantastic find, and I'm glad I could see it in it's entirety. The theatrical release was only 3 1/2 hours long.