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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Review: Reign of Assasins

I was pretty stoked about meeting John Woo, although my favourite Asian director is still Tsui Hark (who directed all the Wong Fei Hongs). Yet I still think John is a legendary director, based on his humble and difficult beginnings (born in the chaos of civil war and poverty), he eventually made himself respected in a white man’s land.
John clearly overshadowed Chinese Director Su Chao Bin who really is the director and script writer behind Reign of Assassins. Everyone was clamoring over John and asking him questions. John mentioned that he has reached a point in life to nurture and mentor younger film makers.

If it wasn’t for this preview graciously extended by Omy, I wouldn’t though of watching this. After watching it, I wondered if I just wasted 130 minutes odd of my life + putting on 1200 calories (pop corn and soft drink provided) when I could have been working out at Bikram hot yoga.

If Brad Pitt could look like a young heart throb once again in Curious Case of Benjamin, I wonder why they didn’t apply the same movie magic on Michelle Yeoh. I have expectations for the silver screen, anything on it have to be picture perfect (thus magazines always win photoshop awards).

A movie, after all, takes us into fantasies. With Michelle Yeoh looking like that, I won’t want her in my dreams.

The movie crept on very slowly. I wanted to go to the toilet so badly, but I held on, afraid the movie gets exciting just when I leave. However, my bladder was sorely disappointed. Nothing exciting happened even with the sacrifice. Although the plot had a different twist from the usual swordplay novels, you won’t miss much not watching, because you’re going to read it all here.
The movie is set in China, early Ming dynasty. The remains of a legendary Buddhist monk were highly sought after, because the owner of his remains will supposedly rule the martial arts world. Drizzle (Yeoh), a highly skilled swordswoman (whose sword moves slashes you like the rain) betrayed her troupe (secret guild of assassins that she belonged to) and eloped with the remains. She killed the imperial minister who last held the remains. Along the way, she falls in love with Wisdom, a monk. No matter how cold hearted she is as an assassin, she is still, after all, a woman. The monk managed to convince her to give up the martial arts world, not before dying in her hands.

With a bounty on her head (because she betrayed her gang AND she held the Precious), she dumped the Precious and seeked a face change, hoping to lead a new life.

This is the ONLY EXCITING part where you sorta (no gore though ) see how plastic surgery is conducted in the olden days. Although, I’m quite sure the techniques are largely fictional, still, it’s interesting to see.

So she starts a new life as a normal village girl who sells fabrics. Jiang Asheng, a postman chanced upon her and set to touch her heart. She eventually relented and married him. Alas, things aren’t so simple. Her gang was still on the hunt for her, so is everyone else in the pugilist world that is still after the powerful remains (enters characters by Barbie Tsu, she’s called Turquoise Ye, Shawn Yue etc). By opportunity, they sniffed her out.
The twist comes when Drizzle’s husband is the son of the imperial minister that Drizzle murdered years ago. He soon found out that Drizzle was the one who murdered his father. He also had a face change like Drizzle (with the same doctor some more! That doctor must be like our Woffles Wu), so as to execute his revenge flawlessly.

An even bigger twist was the leader of The Dark Stone (the mighty gang that Drizzle came from) who is supposedly very influential, respected and powerful is actually a lowly useless eunuch in the Imperial Palace. He wants the remains so desperately and so badly, because the secret to formidable martial art skills and powers lie in the mojo (penis) of the Buddhist monk (must be because he died a virgin, so a lot of power stored inside). He believed that if the remains were in his hands, his cut off dick will miraculously grow back and he will feel man again, allowing him to screw his disciple Turquoise (Barbie Hsu).

It sounds like a perfect soft porn plot.

Still, the Yoda of film making remains to be John Woo .

The humble and down-to-earth director posed for a picture with me despite his minder shooing me away. Now, i like him more than Tsui Hack! Haha, i change sides SO EASILY.


Anonymous said...

I like John woo's movie. Have you watched "Windtalker"? it is another movie directed by John Woo.
- liu shan jie

Xtine said...

sounds familiar.but no, i don't think i watched it.hehe.

Anonymous said...

hey, i think you might have got your plot a bit messed up..

apparently, ah sheng knew from e start that she was drizzle and e marriage is all planned (on his side.) and the original ren feng got killed by drizzle too, but because the his heart was on his right instead of the left, he survived. and wanted to get revenge.

he didnt kill her immediately because he wanted to kill prominent members of the guild all at once by using her as a bait..

and about the remains, the monk was supposedly also castrated but somehow died w a penis. so this leader cut up the remains in order to find out how and why that happened, so that of course he can do e same. though yea, this part is q lame.

i guess it can b boring if u dont like martial arts, but do get your facts right!


Xtine said...

I'm sorry Vivien that i pissed you off. but i wasn't really paying attention after awhile because i was focused on holding in my pee!Heh.

Anonymous said...

well, u didnt really piss me off. i was just perplexed how you got the movie facts wrong, put down the movie and then be excited about the photo with the director (of the movie) you admire, all in the same post. =S

but yea holding in pee is horrid, agree w u

Xtine said...

but you see, liking the person doesn't mean i have to like all of his movies. anyway, thanks for the feedback and correcting me. Perhaps i got it all wrong on purpose, just so to spice things up in my own head! LOL.

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