Reign of Assassins was mainly directed by Su Chao-Pin, but the John Woo link gives the film an extra boost of action credibility, especially after his recent success with Red Cliff.
I spent two hours with expectation to be impressed of such a good unite of filmmaking related persons like John Woo and Michelle Yeoh, but Reign of Assassins is just another romantic action-packed entertainment and too far away from the best Chinese wuxia martial arts movie Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon.
Drizzle is a ruthless assassin, a top member of the Dark Stone Assassins squad famed for her lethal “water-shedding” sword technique, who is trained to kill whoever gets in her way. She falls in love with a monk who reciprocates her feelings and allows himself to be killed during a battle. Losing someone whom she loves, convinces Drizzle to leave her old life behind and got a new face and identity. Everything seems to be smooth sailing at first, she married a humble messenger and used to live happiness 6 months. But The Black Stone (a team of deadly assassins) detect her due to her martial arts style while she protected her husband.
If not John Woo and Michelle Yeoh credits we probably missed Reign of Assassins Movie like the Warriors Way which pushed to Chinese/US market every year. Michelle remains a wonderfully charismatic talent, she is wonderful in the impressively staged action scenes and has a unique stillness and elegance that makes her extremely watchable. I like her and was glad to hear about her comeback to a screen, but probably this is not a good example of return. 10 years ago she was rocking the set in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and nothing seems to stop her from becoming the queen of kung-fu, but not this time. She is 48 and did a great job to stay in good shape all this time despite critics saying she should have been replaced by other, young er actresses.
Korean actor Jung Woo-Sung is charming as her naive husband, while Taiwanese singer Barbie Hsu is striking as Turquoise, the young female sword-fighter recruited to take Drizzle’s place in the band of assassins. John Woo’s daughter Angeles Woo also crops up in a brief cameo as a rival assassin.
Only one good thing I can say that storyline gets better as it progresses with many plot twists and turns, and music by Peter Kam is very beautiful.
Stephen Tung-Wai as an action director did a good job, he started as a actor in Enter The Dragon in early 70s and worked on such martial arts movies like Seven Swords, Bulletproof Monk, Bodyguards and Assassins etc.
Reign of Assassins Movie is not so bad thrill ride that will appeal to both fans of the martial arts movies and fans of art films. I recomend you to look at Detective Dee Movie too.