Writer: Edith YeohWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Swordsman,” “Seven Swords”
"Reign of Assassins" somehow reminds this reviewer to the early Hong Kong 'wuxia' films, where it usually emphasise more on the kung fu philosophies rather than the on-screen action. Even the way the story is told bears a striking resemblance to "Swordsman", directed by Ching Siu-Tung.
The film works from the beginning till the end, without relying on heavy visual effects or being bogged down with fancy shots that could go overboard, giving this premise a fresh breath. The story is full of fantasy that is almost like flipping through a 'wuxia' comic. The dialogue is packed tightly around the plot, giving it a perfect spin to the story without trying too hard to impress.
The first hour of the movie is a bit slow, though as director Su Chao-Pin tries to pitch for the perfect ground for his story to evolve. The first hour seems to glide through a few bumps, with exaggerated swordplay and dramatic long-shots. But then, there's nothing seemingly out of place for a movie of this genre, except for a few blunders like wire poking out of the costumes of the cast. Blink, and you'll miss it.
And if you like Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", you will feel that "Reign of Assassins" has little to disappoint. Co-director John Woo, who is famous for his slow motion up-close shots of Chow Yun Fatt's gun-slinging character in "A Better Tomorrow", Woo traded his guns for swords instead. And instead of relying too much of CGI effects to make it happen, Woo has action superstar, Michelle Yeoh to make the magic happen.
Yeoh did a fantastic job in bringing her character out as an assassin torn between the past and present. Her chemistry between younger South Korean co-star, Jung Woo-Sung surprisingly brings forth the romantic element of the movie. The 10-year age difference between them hardly shows. The rest of the cast did a commendable job; each played their part well.
"Reign of Assassins" is definitely a visual treat for the fans. If you're new to the genre, this reviewer can assure you that you're in for a jolly good time. The movie is intense and it's packaged around nicely with top notch kung fu fighting and "Crouching Tiger's" wall-to-wall climb. The movie simply gets better as it reaches the climax with unexpected plot twists and turns. Do give this a go!Cinema Online, 01 October 2010