Guys, we’ve been over this before. Yes, I am an avid horror fan, but I also like to watch other types of films from time to time. There’s a whole bunch of great stuff out there, so I have to make time for it all. Today, I am glad I made time for Su Chao-Pin’s epic martial arts thriller, Reign of Assassins.
An ancient Chinese legend tells of a mystical Buddhist monk who’s remains possess great power. Whoever is in custody of these remains is said to have the ability to rule the martial arts world. After betraying her clan, The Dark Stone, and taking the remains to be returned to their rightful resting place, the assassin now known as Zeng Jing (Michelle Yeoh, Sunshine) is trying to create a new life for herself. Happily married and living in peace, she is thrown back into the violent mix, when her former clan comes looking for the power they were promised possession of years earlier.
Martial arts films always amaze me; Even if they don’t have the greatest script or plot, the action always keeps me entertained. When the action is fast-paced and exciting, but wrapped inside of a great story, then things get really interesting. Luckily, writer/director Su Chao-Pin, and co-director, John Woo (Face-Off), really did a fantastic job creating an enthralling tale and a memorable group of characters.
The Dark Stone is known to be the deadliest clan of assassins. Each member possesses their own unique traits, making them individually as lethal as when they are fighting in unison. I immediately knew I was in for a treat as the Reign of Assassins‘ roll-call was presented before me. With characters like The Magician with his flaming swords and Lei Bin with his throwing needles, each fight scene was more captivating than the last, leaving me with my eyes wide open and craving more.
I’ll never understand how they do it, but the choreographers of these great kung-fu epics are geniuses. They are constantly coming up with new fight sequences, keeping things fresh for all of us fans to enjoy. Watching a battle between The Magician and The Wheel King, which contains dual flaming sword blades, among other things, is a perfect reminder that martial arts is just that — an art form — beautiful and deadly all at once.
Reign of Assassins is, at its core, a tale of greed and revenge. Each actor that comprised the cast of this film was extremely talented, portraying their characters flawlessly. I was only previously familiar with Michelle Yeoh from the great Ang Lee film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but I was equally as impressed with the rest of this amazing cast.
If you are a fan of martial arts films, be sure to grab a copy of Reign of Assassins, if you have not done so already. With its gravity-defying martial arts sequences and a high enough body count to keep everyone satisfied, you won’t be disappointed. Originally released in 2010, Anchor Bay has re-issued the film on DVD, Digital HD, and On-Demand, available now.
I highly recommend this one and give it a Repulsive Rating of 4 bending sword blades out of 5.