November 26, 2004
Zhang Ziyi, Aphrodite of the modern era, frontlines this production. For fans of hers such as myself, that's really all you need to know.
For anyone concerned with such trivialities as plot, here is the story. Ziyi plays Cynthia, a Chinese woman who falls in love with Itami (Nakamura Tooru of Tokyo Raiders), a Japanese soldier on furlough. Soon after their initial encounter, the young man is required to the return to the motherland in order to fulfill his military obligation. The two share a tearful train station goodbye.
When Cynthia returns home, she is witness to the horror of her brother's slaying at the hands of extreme right wing Japanese nationalists. She swears vengeance for this, and joins a resistance movement called Purple Butterfly. As part of this decision, she disavows herself of her old identity, choosing to become Ding Hui.
Hui's subsection of the militant group plots to kill Yamamoto, the leader of Japan's equivalent to the secret service. Unbeknownst to her, former flame Itami is now head of a detail answering to none other than Yamamoto.
As events are set in motion for an inevitable reunion, a third party enters into the equation. Szeto, a soon-to-be-betrothed man, is mistaken for the assassin assigned to end Yamamoto. While Szeto encounters the resistance, his fiancée is accidentally slain, leaving him no choice but to flee along with the other members of Purple Butterfly. All of them believe him to be the hired gun...all save a woman who once answered to the name of Cynthia.
What follows is a story three unfortunate souls faced off against one another and forced to choose what (and whom) they really stand for. But again, all that matters here is that Purple Butterfly stars Zhang Ziyi. (David Mumpower/BOP)