Reign of Assassins

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Directed by Su Chao-Pin under the guidance of high-impact genre guru John Woo, this 2010 wuxia (Chinese period martial arts actioner) is a satisfying addition to the style, which gained Western popularity with ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’. That film’s star Michelle Yeoh plays an assassin-turned-housewife whose past – wait for it – comes back to haunt her thanks to intrigues involving a league of killers and the mystical mummified body of a Shaolin monk. The plot is of less importance than the impressively choreographed action scenes, which are distinguished by Yeoh’s mastery of a peculiarly wobbly sword, and a tricksy exploration of motifs around identity and karma. Everyone here has something to hide and something to atone for. The relationship between Yeoh’s Zeng Jing and her humble husband Jiang A-Sheng (Jung Woo-Sung) has its moments, though more of the sweetly domesticated kind than crackling chemistry. Not, in the end, a film to linger in the mind but still a solidly enjoyable genre outing.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday February 15 2013
Duration: 103 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Chao-Bin Su
Cast: Michelle Yeoh
Jung Woo-Sung
Wang Xueqi
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