Copyright© Changchun Film Studio 2012
You Know it's great to see Chow Yun Fat back in Chinese or Hong Kong films after his stint in quite a few American films which in all honesty did little to impress his hardened fans.
I think since his great performance in 2010's ''Confucius'' and Let the Bullets Fly he seems to have returned more to his roots.
I still think his decision not to appear in John Woo's Red Cliff because he thought himself to old for the part was a mistake on his part . Though I believe there where other factors to.
Anyhow back to now , here Chow plays Cao Cao ,a well known Chinese warlord famous for the defeat of many adversaries. Serving the Han government Cao Cao has more or less gained supremacy in Northern China. The Emperor Xian has given Cao Cao the title of the ''King of Wei''.
The film centres on Cao Cao's later years and how the children of his defeated enemies are turned into more or less slaves to be trained over a period of years to defeat who they believe to be the most powerful and dangerous man in the World.
The film centres on the story of Lingiu , the daughter of Lu Bu ,a defeated foe of Cao Cao. Lingiu is part of the enslaved children ,she has a friend a young boy named Ma Shun. As the years go on and they grow ,they end up falling in love in there strange predicament. .
But when Lingiu is taken as a Mistress of Cao Cao and the poor Ma Shun is castrated and posted as a Eunuch to Cao Cao's court.
So even though they are together Poor Ma Shun's manhood has been lopped of and I'm sure he has mixed emotions about his relationship with Lingiu.
Of curse the whole point of the young coulples deployment to court is that they may have a chance to assassinate Cao Cao once and for all ,no matter how long it takes.
Now as far as the film goes ,it seems a bit disjointed in places , we have this big opening of all these kids growing up to be made assassins to kill Cao Cao, But to be honest little is made of this later in the film, the two main attempts on Cao Cao's life are from different sources,
The Emperor for one really is as mad as a hatter here ,or so he seems ,often singing to himself and often making his followers role play characters he does not like so he may scold them.
The Empress is more cunning and is one of the co conspirators against Cao Cao in the first attempt on his life which also involves her father. .
The Emperors Brother wants rid of his crazy brother so he can be ruler and bang the Empress who seems reluctant at times.
I felt the film had a chance for some great battles and attacks , but it seem to fumble around , Lingiu often not getting a chance to act out her revenge for her father and the fact she had been kept like a prisoner for years so she could have the opportunity to kill Cao Cao. .
At times it seems she's having a good time, even poor old Ma Shun seems happy to go about his business ,with a chance meeting with Lingiu (his true Love) ,one scenes where Lingiu and Ma Shun meet they discuss a night that Ma Shun wanted to make love to Lingiu and she did not want to, she tells him she regrets it so, great the man has no balls and your telling him now.
There is a second attempt on Cao Cao's life led by a Imperial doctor ,the revolt is quashed quite rapidly .
Of the two attacks the action is not bad and quite well choreographed ,but one scene did show some crazy speed up which gave the film a comical touch , a bit like watching those old Kung Fu movies form the 70's when everyone moved at 100mph.
Chow's performance was good as ever ,maybe not as riveting or believable as his role in Confucius ,but good nonetheless .
The film looks lush and has some nice backdrops , it just did not grab me as I thought it should , and the crazy emperor started to irritate me a bit to , it's like the story of Lngiu and Ma Shun gets lost then reappears at the end ,and then it's to late as Cao Cao reveals he knows of their plan .
In the end The Assassins is 107 minutes of Royal Court drama inter-sped with a couple of battles . It's one of those films that if you have nothing else to watch it will entertain you without making you feel cheated ,but don't go expecting Confucius or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon .
I hope Chow's forthcoming ''The Last Tycoon '' and his role in the Monkey King as the Jade Emperor gives him the audience he deserves ,which I'm sure they will..
Score out of Ten = 5
Reviewer : Sertes Nake
Review Date: February 14th 2013
|Directed by||Zhao Linshan|
|Produced by||Zhao Xiaoding|
|Written by||Wang Bin|
|Starring||Chow Yun-fat |
|Music by||Mei Linmao |
|Editing by||Cheng Long|
|Studio||Changchun Film Studio|
|Release date(s)|| |
|Running time||107 minutes|