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VINE VOICEon 12 December 2010
This is a very traditional foray into the territory of the Chinese martial arts epic, with all the expected elements; wire flying, improbable stunts, glorious battle scenes, incredible sets and scenery, and (spoiler alert!) no happy endings. If there's anything in that which you don't care for, you probably won't like this film. If, on the other hand, you have enjoyed the likes of House of Flying Daggers, Battle of Wits, or Red Cliff, this is definitely one to watch. The script actually makes a lot more sense than most of these genre movies, and ignore previous reviewers - the subtitles are perfectly comprehensible (there are one or two slips in use of English, but nothing you can't easily correct for yourself) and I never found them to interfere with the fight scenes. There is no dubbed version on the blu ray, but if you can read you can enjoy this anyway. Unlike another reviewer I did not find the sound effects overdone at all, can't help wondering if they have something wrong with their sound system; there are some instances where sound is deliberately heightened for a specific impact in a scene, and I found it a clever use of sound and as appropriate as the occasional use of slow motion to enhance a scene. The music is excellent, very stirring at appropriate points, and romantic at others. The cast are superb, and fulfil their roles to perfection. On blu ray, the sound is sharp and clear, and the picture quality is really stunning. One or two times I was a bit dubious over whether a particular visual effect was intended, or some unexpected consequence of the transfer, but having seen the same part on a friend's dvd copy, it was intentional and another of the innovative uses of sound and visual by the director. I found this a real treat, even if there was nothing very original in the plot; a banquet for the eyes and ears, and a very satisfying experience.
47 people found this helpful
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on 13 March 2012
I loved the story, Action, Scenery & attention to Detail in this film.

Orphaned children thrown into mini Arena's by the chinese Emperor & told to fight each other to the death, to survive another day, day in & day out. Untill, they reach a certain point where they are deemed worthy of Assassin training.

Donnie Yen is the loyal, Elite Assassin, continually haunted by his experiences as a child, where he had to kill his own little brother in the Arena.

The story takes off when the Emperor is betrayed. The Assassins are then sent on a mission that goes wrong, leaving only one of them left & badly wounded. The enemy is in hot pursuit & Donnie takes refuge with a group of Nomadic, Caravan Escorts, who dont know who he is. But soon will. (I dont want to say too much).

There are a few other Mystical Characters in this film & the action scenes are Amazing. The girl just has to have sold her soul to the Devil to be able to do what she does & the young fella's skills are swift & magical aswell.

Are they any match for Donnie though..........?

I loved it...Big Thumbs up.
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on 7 March 2018
an enjoyable martial arts film well shot and good story. As with many orient films be prepared for a sad ending.
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on 30 July 2017
Donnie Yen...no more to be said!
One person found this helpful
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on 14 April 2011
I found it a little hard to follow,
as the subtitles are small and are gone before you finish reading them! I lost track of who was who,
what they were doing and why! In the end i just gave up and watched the action,
of which there is plenty.
The blu-ray transfer is superb,rich in colour and detail,
some of the shots are stunning.Sound is superb,
blu-ray extra's are thin on the ground,
but who cares!
6 people found this helpful
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on 9 March 2017
Donnie Yen performs well in this sword play feature although I found it a bit hard to follow, not his best film I don't think and doubt if I would watch it again hence 3 stars.
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on 5 August 2011
I totally agree with `Chinatown Blues` comments on this film and it is very much like a Shakespearean romantic tragedy, having depth rather than the `wam bam thank u mam` type of martial arts films.

Good historical references to the Jinyi Wei, the governments secret police at the time and who Donnie Yen is the leader of.

Worth adding to your collection
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on 10 April 2017
Nothing special. Poor story but nice sword moves. 7/10
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on 13 November 2017
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on 21 December 2016
Really Excellent
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