Reign Of Assassins DVD Review
“Reign Of Assassins” is a solid wuxia film.
Co-directed by John Woo and Su Chao-Pin, “Reign Of Assassins” is a 2010 film that begins with an assassin’s guild known as The Dark Stone attempting to steal half of the remains of a Grandmaster named Bodhi. Legend has it that whoever possesses the remains of Bodhi would rule the martial arts world. One of the assassins (Drizzle) betrays her guild and runs off with the remains. She later changes her face (a nod to Woo’s own “Face/Off” perhaps?) and her identity and hides away from her past life. While living under the name Shi Yu, she falls for a man named Jiang Ah-Sheng and the two eventually marry. Unfortunately for Shi Yu, her past comes back to haunt her when The Dark Stone (led by the Wheel King) comes looking for Bodhi’s remains. As if that wasn’t enough, her new husband Jiang harbors some secrets of his own.
“Reign of Assassins” starts off strong with an intriguing supernatural prologue and a fast paced and violent action sequence in which Drizzle takes Bodhi’s remains. After that, the film’s weirdness tapers off a bit as the film settles into the central story and its themes of betrayal, death, love, spirituality, power, and knowledge. Of course, there’s plenty of wirework action and sword fights along the way much of which features the bad-ass Michelle Yeoh (who stars as Shi Yu/Drizzle).
While the film holds your interest the whole way through, the story never quite takes advantage of the promising prologue. The film is at its best when it embraces its supernatural side, but there isn’t enough of that. Instead, it plays out like one would figure. Still, I’d wager most people are tuning in for the action and the film certainly offers up plenty of it as viewers get to witness all sorts of exciting action set pieces involving flaming swords, bendable swords, among other weapons.
Presentation: 2.35:1. How does it look? The stylish cinematography shines even in standard definition.
Audio Track: Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1. How does it sound? There’s a lot going on here sound wise and this DD track does the audio justice.
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