Reign Of Assassins (tbc)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/02/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 117 mins

Although it drags on a little too long, this Chinese martial arts flick is thoroughly entertaining, thanks to its even pace, strong performances and impressive choreography.

What’s it all about?
Directed by Su Chao-Pin and John Woo, Reign of Assassins is set in ancient China and stars Michelle Yeoh as Drizzle, a top-level assassin of a violent gang named The Dark Stone. Deciding she’s had enough of a life filled with violence and crime, Drizzle escapes and moves to the Capital, where she changes her name to Zeng Jing and drastically alters her appearance in a bid to escape her bloodstained past.

At first, Drizzle’s new life is a success and she finds happiness working as a shopkeeper and marrying a humble messenger named Jiang (Jung Woo-Sung). However, Drizzle’s past soon comes back to haunt her after The Dark Stone learn that she returned an ancient Buddhist monk’s remains (rumoured to contain the secret of limitless power) back to his tomb and they will stop at nothing to get revenge and obtain the remains. Meanwhile, Jiang also comes clean about his own identity, revealing that he is the son of a government official who Drizzle murdered when she was still a member of The Dark Stone.

The Good
Michelle Yeoh is well cast, thanks to her vital ability to radiate a sense of experience and self-awareness behind her convincingly innocent guise. Yeoh’s actual performance is impressive too, as is Jung Woo-Sung’s, who is persuasive in his role as Drizzle’s husband, Jiang. In terms of action and entertainment, Reign of Assassins is jam-packed and martial arts fans will generally be pleased with the quality of the film’s choreography. The film also successfully manages to combine the action with romance and suspense and the strong, dramatic score builds tension in all the right places.

The Bad
Although the dialogue is generally strong on the whole, it can be a little corny at times and the 117 minute running time is slightly too long for a film of this calibre and energy. Apart from a handful of scenes (which could arguably have been cut out) Reign of Assassins also seems undeserving of its 15 certificate and there’s a sense that the film might have been better if it had tried to be a little less edgy and a little more accessible for family viewing.

Worth seeing?
It certainly isn’t ground breaking, but Reign of Assassins is definitely worth seeing for its jam-packed action and engaging storyline. Recommended.

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Content updated: 15/10/2019 03:39

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