English Title: Reign Of Assassins
Original Title: Jianyu 剑雨
Director/Writer: Su Chao-bin 苏照彬
Music: Peter Kam 金培达, Anthony Chue 禇镇东
Cinematography: Wong Wing-hung 黄永恒, Arthur Wong 黄岳泰
Michelle Yeoh 杨紫琼
Wang Xueqi 王学圻
Kelly Lin 林熙蕾
Shawn Yue 余文乐
Barbie Hsu 徐熙媛
Leon Dai 戴立忍
Nina Paw 鲍起静
Jiang Yiyan 江一燕
Li Zonghan 李宗翰
Guo Xiaodong 郭晓冬
Pace Wu 吴佩慈
Matt Wu 吴中天
Wu Feixia 吴飞霞
Jin Shijie 金士杰
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.