The Banquet has been described as a loose adaptation of "Hamlet",
featuring royal conflicts and revenge set in 10th century China. The new Emperor
(Ge You) has usurped the throne by murdering the previous Emperor. He marries
the Empress (Zhang Ziyi), wife of the previous Emperor and stepmother to the
Crown Prince (Daniel Wu).
At first, the Empress seeks only to protect herself, but as the new Emperor
grows suspicious of all those around him, she realizes that only by helping
the Crown Prince kill him can she hope to survive. Together with the Chief Minister
(Ma Jingwu) she tries to carry out this plot, but when the Prince is wracked
by indecision she devises a new plan and seeks the throne for herself. As the
plot move towards its climax, the Emperor calls for a lavish royal banquet,
where each will seek the end of their enemies.