8 March 2011 | lasttimeisaw
Reign Of Assassins
English Title: Reign Of Assassins Original Title: Jianyu Year: 2010 Country: China Language: Mandarin Genre: Action Director: Chao-Bin Su Writers: Chao-Bin Su Cast: Michelle Yeoh Woo-sung Jung Xueqi Wang Kelly Lin Shawn Yue Barbie Hsu Leon Dai Hee Ching Paw Yiyan Jiang Zonghan Li Xiaodong Guo Pace Wu Matt Wu Feixia Wu Rating: 7/10
My gut feeling after the first view of this film is mixed with some relief and a shred of disappointment. Last year, it was propagandized as a John Woo's work in order to infuse some incentive into this star-studded kung-fu film to conquer the local cinemas. Shamefully this trick stumbled quite severely as it was largely overshadowed by DETECTIVE DEE (2010) at the box office with the same release period (during Chinese National Day, October 2010).
Its reviews were generally favored though, which should be merited to Chao-Bin Su, the real man behind-the-wheel and whose previous director works SILK (2006) and BETTER THAN SEX (2002) have won him some reputation as a gifted and emerging Taiwan director.
As a Chinese, the fact is that we tend to be immune from domestic Kung-fu films much more than foreigners, because since our infancy, we haven been surrounding and tested by myriad films like these, so it is difficult to make a fuss about it unless there is truly something special in it.
So speaking of this film, in spite of that it has many plot holes which doesn't make sense (even in the time of Jiang Hu, to name a few, our heroine's initial motivation of stealing the half buddha body in the first place; the plausibility of face-lifting technology; the sudden intensifying kung-fu mastery of our hero, etc.), the film converges some genuine talent to entertain its audience, especially the dreamlike cinematography successfully builds a ruthless world of Jiang Hu as well as its innovative fighting design which embodies each main character their own personality.
The cast is solid for an action film, it's the first time since CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON (2000), Michelle Yeoh finally collected a decent leading role as a martial fighter, which is well-done too judging by the criterion of acting. I do have high expectation of her to take a leap in the upcoming Aung San Suu Kyi's bio-pic THE LADY (directed by Luc Besson).
To sum up, I am pleased to watch this film and sincerely hope Su will become a big name in the near future.