9th century China.? 10-year-old general's daughter Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who initiates her into the martial arts, transforming her into an exceptional assassin charged with eliminating cruel and corrupt local governors. One day, having failed in a task, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised - a cousin who now leads the largest military region in North China.
Static Chinese Costume Non-drama
- The Assassin review by Alphaville
The poster and title promise a martial-arts extravaganza. Instead we get a would-be-arty affair about court intrigue in ancient China, filmed as a series of static tableaus. Some critics have described this as beautiful, but only if you judge it in terms of still-life group portraits. Cinema, it ain’t. 69-year-old director Hsiao-hsien Hou has never made a martial arts film before because he thought them too difficult. It shows. The brief action that he does attempt is ineptly handled. Never thought I’d say this, but one even pines for Jackie Chan to swoop in from the wings and add some zest to proceedings. Don’t be misled by the poster’s multi-star reviews from critics who don’t understand the basics of film grammar. Check the trailer before you fork out money on this.
Call me a philistine, but I actually fast forwarded a lot of this film. Most of it is stunningly beautiful shots of the Chinese countryside that go on FOREVER. It's like watching a tour of an art gallery, but it's not a film. There is minimal dialogue so the story is confusing for those not familiar with the Chinese folk tale. As someone obsessed with interior design and fabric, I found myself exclaiming about the exquisite brocade, chiffon and silk curtains wafting about in every interior shot. That is not what I should be doing when watching a film. We have a saying in the North of England- " All mouth and no trousers" and that is what sums up this film.
I can't believe a film company funded this. If you want to immerse yourself in interior design or beautiful paintings in an art gallery, then by all means get this film, but if you're looking to view a Chinese Film about an ancient folk tale, don't bother.