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刺客新傳之殺人者唐斬 (1993)
The Assassin


Reviewed by: Tonic
Date: 05/16/2008

I actually got this in a DVD trade, I thought it was going to be the Jimmy Wang movie (which I still haven't seen!) of the same name. I realised from the DVD menu this was a different film altogether.

Some of the concept was effective and one of the early scenes in the film was quite harrowing, but the pacing was awful. The film was a touch over 80 minutes and it felt like it was MUCH longer.

Most of the fights seemed pretty nondescript apart from the last two.

Difficult to recommend, maybe only if you liked the seven million other wuxia films that came out in 1993.


Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 04/19/2006
Summary: very annoying subtitles indeed...

the tale of a farmer (zhang fengyi) who is imprisoned after his relationship with a woman (rosamund kwan) he'd been forbidden from seeing. he is then brutally punished by having his eyelids sewn closed (yikes!), before being selected to become an assassin for an evil eunuch. he is a great assassin and, after many assignments, takes a new assassin (max mok) under his wing, but he soon begins to question his existance after a chance meeting with kwan...

a decidedly bloody, but pretty entertaining wu xia movie, with lots of limb slicing to boot. unfortunately there were scenes on the disc that had no subtitles during the scene, but instead chose to fire them off in quick succession after the dialogue had ended - bah!

grim, but good...


Reviewed by: bloody_romeo
Date: 05/25/2002

according to the year the movie is not that bad,..a bit cheap but still good
the best fighting scene is where the two assasin fight each other nearly at the end of the film,....the story will remind u of the film "The Assasin" starring Silvester Stallone,....but please dont expect too much of this film otherwise u´ll maybe get dissappointed,.......all in all a film worth watching but u dont need to buy it on DVD as i did !!


Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

Grim 1993 wuxia movie, not to be confused with older Shaw Bros movie of the same name. I'm a big fan of this genre, and thought I had seen every single swordplay movie that was released during the genre's heydays between 1990 and 1994, but somehow this one escaped my attention, until it was rereleased on DVD by Winson a short while ago.

Starring Zhang Feng Yi and Rosamund Kwan, this is a very bleak, gruesome Ming dynasty story of a man trained as a killer, who cannot escape from the soul-destroying aspects of his profession. The movie features big swords, decapitations, evil eunuchs, exploding chests, bad hair, eyes being sewn shut, murderous courtesans, splashing fountains of blood and wire-enhanced combat galore. With the exception of some outdoors scenes, the cinematography and lighting forego a realistic look for an exaggerated, almost theatrical atmosphere, with plenty of fog and night sky drenched in blue, similar to some of the other wuxia pics filmed mainly on studio soundstages, like BWWH. The film is certainly not as well-scripted and cohesive as the latter, and the characters in particular remain empty chiffres (with Rosamund wasted completely), yet I still thought the movie was very effective in creating a unique feel. The swordfights are competently staged for the most part, with the final showdown a particular standout.
There's no comic relief, and the soundtrack was very nice too.

Perhaps it was just the pleasure of actually once again seeing a wuxia flick for the FIRST TIME rather than having to rewatch familiar titles, but I thoroughly enjoyed this film.

The DVD has decent picture quality, but some mastering problems (e.g. very buggy menu screens) and the optional subtitles are very poorly synchronized, at times appearing not until a particular scene has ended (which makes it a bit confusing to watch at times).


Reviewed by: hkfilmjunkie
Date: 08/01/2001
Summary: A great, bloody flick!

Set in the 18th Century, this bloody saga tells the tale of a simple man turned into a ruthless killer extraordinaire after his love has been taken from him.Let's face it, who really cares that the driving force behind the bloodshed is his long lost love, we watch it because of the bloodshed and carnage that ensues during the film.Graphically violent, blood sprays regularly and constantly.Excellent fight sequences and great direction keep things moving smartly along.The acting is above par as well.One of the best films I've seen this week (and believe me, I watch pretty damn many in a week).Fans of Lone Wolf series will enjoy this excellent action film.


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 06/27/2001
Summary: Cheap but interesting

THE ASSASSIN (1993) - Another cheapo DVD from World Video, clearly transferred from VHS but not bad quality. The subtitles are very bad, which probably contributed somewhat to the fact that I didn't make much sense of what going on for the most part. Broadly, swordsman Po Ka (unfortunate name) is imprisoned by the Evil Eunuch, but given the chance to become a royal assassin if he can beat 7 fellow prisoners in a fight. Spurred on by the wish to see his love, Rosamund Kwan, once more (and who wouldn't?), he wins and quickly rises to the no. 1 assassin position. Enter Max Mox, another royal assassin who has ambitions to be as good as Po Ka. Much assassination ensues.

The film is a pretty low budget affair, presenting a dark & gritty wuxia world reminiscent of The Blade or Burning Paradise. No comedy here. It obviously doesn't have close to the production values of those Tsui Hark masterworks... the most bothersome aspect of which was the really bad wig that Zhang Feng Yi (Po Ka) wears throughout. It does have lots of violence though... bloody dismemberments and decapitations are rife. There's some mostly amateurish wirework sequences, but one swordfight near the end that borders on the great. There's some nicely filmed sections, particularly the action sequences but also some nice sets & locations. The DVD transfer doesn't do them much justice though.

Overall, not a classic, nor a great film, but an enjoyable frivolity.


Reviewed by: Sunrah
Date: 04/05/2000

This movie is an excellent example of what it is, a good reason to show the shed of blood for entertainment purposes. Nothing more, nothing less. With that said, this is on of the best movies of its kind. Who cares about the plot? Did anyone care about him getting back with his love intrest. You watch this movie to see him live out his name, Tong Chop. And he did. What more could you want. You got and old eunuch[did I spell that right] with a dozen women at his command, rival killers, martial arts and disembodyments[I don't even know if that's a word]. That's what value the movie has and it is well worth its weight.


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/21/1999

A very good Swordplay movie, if you don't mind flying people... some great martial arts, decapitations and torso splittings... a very gory movie... nastiest bit goes to the eye sewing scene, seen in extreme close up...

(6/10)

[Reviewed by Andrej Blazeka]


Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 12/09/1999

Well here's a lame movie. Why this movie was given a Category III rating for gore is beyond me; it's not much bloodier than, say, the SWORDSMAN movies. Although I'm a fan of screen violence, the violence in this film is more unsettling and unpleasant (in a bad way) than entertaining. The highest level the fight scenes attain is a merely mediocre 30 seconds or so towards the end. The movie seems to want to be artistic, but it's too cliched and laughable to take very seriously. This is one of those movies that had me wishing for the final credits about halfway through.


Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 12/09/1999

This epic action adventure film, set in the 18th century, tells the bloody story of Tong Po Ka whose forbidden love transforms him from a simple farmer into the number one killer/swordsman. Po Ka's "forbidden love" is portrayed by the very beautiful Rosamund Kwan Chi-lam. Her performance here is top notch. He is sent to prison where, because he has been unrepentant and smashed the courtroom and his jailers, he is subjected to "the Eye-Closing Penalty" (eyes SEWN shut). Po Ka is given a chance to regain his freedom when he must kill seven other prisoners to survive. He survives but his freedom is costly. He must serve the evil eunuch Ngai Chung Yin and join his band of killers. Ngai renames Po Ka, calling him Tong Chop, as in "chop in two halves." The final sequence of ASSASSIN is a tour-de-force of martial arts. The movie is full of classic kung fu battles and intense swordplay with many beheadings, torso splittings, severed limbs, poison drinks, beautiful young girls, giant dildos, perverted eunuchs, betrayals and gruesome revenges. The director, Billy Chung Siu-Hung, keeps the action moving with fluid camera movement and crisp editing. If you are a fan of the "swordsman" genre in Hong Kong cinema, then this film is a must see.

[En français] Ce film d'aventure épique d'action, fixés dans le 18e siècle, raconte l'histoire sanglante de Tong Po Ka dont l'amour interdit lui transforme d'une simple agriculteur dans la première cause de mortalité / épéiste. Ka Po's "interdit l'amour" est représenté par la très belle Rosamund Kwan Chi-Lam. Son interprétation est ici excellent. Il est envoyé en prison où, parce qu'il a été impénitents et brisé la salle d'audience et de ses geôliers, il est soumis à "l'oeil de clôture Penalty" (yeux SEWN coupé). Po Ka est donné une chance de retrouver sa liberté quand il doit tuer sept autres prisonniers de survivre. Il survit, mais sa liberté est coûteux. Il doit servir le mal eunuque Ngai Chung Yin et rejoindre son groupe de tueurs. Ngai renomme Po Ka, lui demandant Tong Chop, comme dans "hacher en deux moitiés". La dernière séquence de ASSASSIN est un tour de force d'arts martiaux. Le film est plein de kung-fu classique batailles sabre et intense avec de nombreuses décapitations, torse splittings, sectionné des membres, le poison de boissons, de belles jeunes filles, godes géants, perverti eunuques, trahisons et revenges macabres. Le réalisateur de ce film, Billy Chung Siu-Hung, d'action tient le mouvement de liquide mouvement de la caméra et nets édition. Si vous êtes fan de la "épéiste" genre dans le cinéma de Hong Kong, ce film est un must.


Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Dark and gory film with cookie-cutter wuxia plot stereotypes and music video cinematography. Churned out in the martial arts movie glut of the early 1990s, it has few redeeming features.

[Reviewed by Iain Sinclair]


Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

A great deal of bloodatory choppage pumps up the story ofTong Po Ka, forced by dynastic intrigues to perform hit jobs on political enemies. Rosamund Kwan, his newly rediscovered lover, turns him around and gets him used to the easy-going rural lifestyle -- but not before we've seen stabbings, decapitations, limbs chopped into smoldering piles, eye-lids sewn shut, flesh ripped by metal hooks a la A Man Called Horse, and other juicy martial art-trocities. I liked it.

(3/4)



[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 7