14 January 2009 | angelsfang
Waited almost a year for this...... and the scores don't lie
Being a big fan of Wu Jing, I've waited nearly a year for Legendary Assassin after his dazzling moves in Fatal Move left me in limbo. I'm not sure how big a role he played as co-director in this film, but the direction and the story was fairly mediocre. It takes place on an island where he meets the girl cop (Celina Jade), and gets chased around by the bad guys. They are trapped on the island because a tropical typhoon has shut down all the ferries. It feels a bit like Assault on Precinct 13 but nowhere near as intense or exciting. A 6 to 6.5 rating is about right.
The thing about Jacky is that he always seems to fall short of making that 'big break' movie that truly shows how great an actor he can be. In Legendary Assassin, his acting is pretty much exactly the same as in Fatal Contact, whenever someone talks to him he smiles and waits a few seconds before replying. He plays the underdog secret assassin/kungfu master alternate identity that is in danger of being typecast nowadays. The big difference is that he talks a lot less than in Fatal Contact, and therefore in my opinion it is a step back. He actually took a step back from Fatal Contact. There should have been much more dialogue between him and Celina. The fighting scenes were slightly above average, nothing spectacular. A lot of people knock Fatal Move, but I thought it was intended to be over the top and ridiculous, like something out of a Japanese comic, CGI blood spraying all over the place. His fighting scenes were much better in Fatal Move and SPL. I guess I'm a bit spoiled by Donnie Yen, at the moment if Jet Li is considered to be retired, then Donnie reigns supreme (both on the screen and as producer/director) and Jacky is just behind him. In a leading role, Fatal Contact is probably still Jacky's finest, so he needs to step back and evaluate which direction his career should be headed. Perhaps he should take on projects with a solid script and director. I'm a huge fan of Jacky Wu and hope his next project can truly take it to the next level, and break more barriers.
A pleasant surprise is Hong Kong born newcomer Celina Jade making her debut, who is half Chinese and half American. Besides her natural beauty, she can also speak three languages (English, Cantonese, Mandarin). Perhaps because of the fact that she was actually born and raised in Hong Kong, she performed admirably in Legendary Assassin and looked very natural on the screen, never fazed or looking out of place alongside a solid cast with some old time faces. Besides those dreamy eyes, her language and culture is her greatest asset, as despite playing a naive cop, you take her seriously as she delivered her lines with sincerity and realism rather than just being silly or trying to look cute. She also displayed a wide variety of emotions convincingly, and is definitely one to look out for in future Hong Kong productions.