The Lady Assassin
Our first review from a film we viewed at the Monthly Terracotta Film club event in London.
Why you ask ,well this is actually the first film shown which we had not seen before,and as we have our own big projection screen , we rarely travel to see films we can view in our own venue at Snakedojo.
Now Vietnam has a well respected film industry even though they are relatively young compared to others . For most part films from Vietnam deal with social issues in local dramas ,not much for a international market.
Now in the past we have taken delight in films from the region such as ''Rebel'' and Bay Rong aka ''Clash'' , with The Lady Assassin the Vietnam film makers have made a very international action film with big effects and utilising 3D for the full effect.
Now unfortunately the 3D print was not accessible to us in the West due to one reason being that the venue did not have a 3D projection suite. So we viewed the film in it's 2D version.
If you like the old Shaw Brothers films of old then this will remind you of them because of the bright vivid colours on screen and amazing vistas.
The films story is quite basic , it follows a Tavern led by a young and mysterious lady who along with her waitresses prey on corrupt Government officials and business people.
Acting like a gang of pirates on land they relieve their unsuspecting visitors of their riches and kill them if need be.
The tavern is set up on a island by the coast amongst lavish tropical plants and mountains ,making the area look like a paradise and for most part the girls at the tavern live like they are in paradise.
When a young girl arrives who has been kidnapped and put among treasures ,it raises suspicions for the girls. But the new arrival iterates that she has been kidnapped and that her family where slaughtered by the evil General Quan Du.
It does not take long before the girls are helping train the new girl in their ways, but with Genral Quan Du planning to take the Island where the Tavern is ,it seems the girls might have a tough time holding onto there lifestyle of thievery.
Now Lady Assassin is not a overly long film ,running at a little under Ninety Minutes, it starts of at a pace , to give you a idea of the films basic plot. , now unlike the other Vietnamese action films I have seen the action in the films is less fluid and this is due to the actresses and actors not all being trained martial artists ,but as the film is more a fantasy film it's easy to compensate with wire work and effects , the girls all seem very agile and physical , which is evident from the scenes where they play what seems to be a ancient version of volleyball in the sand. In fact the scenes seem to borrow heavily from the Dead or Alive video game and film where the girls play each other at Volleyball showing of there assets , but to a lesser extent to the Dead or Alive film or games ( all the girls wear long dress like sarongs ) , but it is something your notice if familiar with the series.
If there's a problem with the film ,it is that there's a mid section in the film with little to no action ,which lasts quite a while , looks like the director was trying to add a drama based story ,with the girls entering into banter about life and dreams and such like.
When the action does come and all is revealed , your treated to about a fifteen minute battle between the girls and Quan Du and his men. ,again not all the action is fast and furious ,but the use of effects works for most part, though some scenes look a little slow and not very well choreographed.
I would imagine the film fares better in full 3D as the effects of flying swords ,darts ,furniture and foliage being thrust towards the viewer would make for a better experience, but it also confirms that the 3D is used to cover up the versatility of the cast in doing the action.
We enjoyed the film ,but was not overwhelmed with it. None of the fight action stood out to much and what made it worse for us viewers was the fact that before the film was screened we where shown a film short from a local amateur film maker whose actual fight action was on par and maybe slightly better at times to the main film. And this was from a film which lasted a whole five minutes.
In the end Lady Assassin is good film from director and writer Quang Dung Nguyen, it's plot is simple , it's bright and beautiful to look at and it's also very inoffensive in every way. Making it pleasant viewing , we just wish there was more action in the middle section ,which would have tightened the pace up a bit better.
Score out of Ten = 6
Review Date : December 2013
Reviewer Sertes Nake
Quang Dung Nguyen
Ngo Quan Dung
Tang Thanha Ha
88 minutes approx