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Friday, October 15, 2010

[9.50/10] Reign of Assassins (2010)



Jianyu

a.k.a.

Reign of Assassins (2010)

Full review: A decade after Ang Lee's hugely successful martial arts masterpiece, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", director Chao-Bin Su and co-director John Woo succeeds in delivering a spectacularly arresting, visually striking and hugely engrossing wuxia flick, that ranks amongst the best of the genre! Set in ancient China, "Reign of Assassins" tells the story of Zeng Jing, a skilled assassin who's on a mission to return the remains of a mystical Buddhist monk to their resting place falls in love with a man named Jiang, whose father was killed by her gang. Soon, a lethal triangle surfaces between her, Jiang and the team of assassins that are after the monk's remains. Film's plot is well-structured, solid and full of intriguing twists and turns, enough to hold any viewer's attention. It's "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" meets "Crouching Tiger" in the best possible way. A cast of A-list Asian actors shines in "Reign of Assassins", with the fantastic Michelle Yeoh being the lead. Yeoh's not only a great female warrior with amazing martial arts skills, but she's an incredibly talented and charismatic actress, whose strong presence commands the screen, and she makes a main heroine that is both - sensitive and tough at the same time. Woo-sung Jung gives a strong and consistently good performance as Zeng's beloved Jiang. They both share great chemistry, and the romance between them feels real and unforced. The rest of the cast also deliver convincingly good performances, with Wang Xueqi as the raspy-voiced Wheel King being the standout, as he makes very interesting character. Veteran fight choreographer, Stephen Tung, who did an outstanding job in last year's amazing kung fu thriller "Bodyguards and Assassins", simply outdoes himself in this film, as he deliver one of the best and most creative action choreography I've ever seen in any martial arts movie. The swordplay in "Reign of Assassins" is nothing short of spectacular, the wire work is flawless and the stunts are fantastically breathtaking. Moreover, the stylized fight scenes themselves are fast-paced and perfectly-edited, and highlighted by the use of various camera angles, without being too over-the-top, thanks to Chao-Bin Su and John Woo's competent direction. Visually, "Reign of Assassins" is slick and stunning, as it offers vivid art direction, striking cinematography that captures the period perfectly and some beautiful costumes with detailed fabrics.

Overall summary: Entertaining from start to finish, spectacularly-choreographed and visually-fantastic, "Reign of Assassins" is the best martial arts film since Zhang Yimou's 2006 visual feast, "Curse of the Golden Flower", and my favorite movie of 2010 so far!

6 comments:

Jaccstev said...

Great review buddy! I like it a lot :)
But there's one thing missing, I wanna know your perspective on the movie's ending.

Nebular said...

Thanks, pal ;) I didn't like it.. I loved it! :)
The ending? What about it? I thought it was the typical happy ending - there wasn't a twist or anything. I've heard that the HK version nas an alternate ending. Do you know anything about that?

Ellie said...

Wow, great review! I might just have to see this one~

Jaccstev said...

I also haven't seen the alternate ending, I think there twists around Jiang's true identity, and Zeng's sacrifices though the director is finally go with the happy ending which is very rare in this genre.

Nebular said...

Thanks, Ellie :)

You should definitely give it a shot. It's a near perfect martial arts flick.

Nebular said...

There were enough twists along the way, so another one in the ending wasn't necessary. I was happy with it.
It was a celebration of true love, although both, Zeng and Jiang, denied they're in love with each other earlier in the film. ;)