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The Assassins [Blu-ray]

3.7 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the year 198 BC, Cao Cao (CHOW YUN FAT), Prime Minister of the Han Dynasty, ventured to the east and defeated China s greatest warrior Lu Bu, terrifying every ambitious warlord across the country. Several years later, after taking the Han Emperor under his wing, Cao crowns himself King of Wei. He built a magnificent Bronze Sparrow Island to symbolize his power and rumors spread that he would replace the Emperor. Meanwhile, young lovers Mu Shun (TAMAKI HIROSHI) and Ling Ju (CRYSTAL LIU YI FEI) are taken from a prison camp to a hidden tomb, where they spend five cruel years together, training as assassins for a secret mission. In the year 220 BC astronomical signs predict dramatic change. As a result, Cao s son Cao Pi (QIU XIN ZHI) and Cao s followers urge Cao to become the new Emperor - but unknown and opposing forces plot against him. Starring international film legend Chow Yun-Fat, and created by the team behind gripping action dramas such as HERO, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER and KILL BILL, THE ASSASSINS is a gripping, lush historical epic that mixes tragic romance with taut political drama.

Behind the Scenes

English Dub
English Subtitles

About the Actor

Chow Yun Fat is a charismatic, athletically built and energetic Asian-born film star who first came to the attention of western audiences via his roles in the high-octane/blazing guns action films of maverick HK director John Woo. Born in 1955 on the quiet island of Lamma, part of the then British colony of Hong Kong near its famous Victoria Harbour, Chow's family moved to urban Hong Kong in 1965 and in early 1973, Chow attended a casting call for TVB, a division of Shaw Bros. productions. With his good looks and easy-going style, Chow was originally a heartthrob actor in non-demanding TV and film roles. However, his popularity increased with his appearance as white-suited gangster Hui Man-Keung in the highly popular drama TV series_The Bund (1983)_. In 1985, Chow started receiving acclaim for his work and scored the Golden Horse (Best Actor) Award in Taiwan and another Best Actor Award from the Asian Pacific Film Festival for his performance in Dang doi lai ming (1984). With these accolades, Chow came to the attention of Woo, who cast Chow in the fast-paced gangster film A Better Tomorrow (1986) (aka "A Better Tomorrow"). The rest, as they say, is history. The film was an enormous commercial success, and Chow's influence on young Asian males was not dissimilar to the adulation given to previous Asian film sensations such as Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan. Nearly every young guy in Hong Kong ran out and bought himself a "Mark Coat," as they became known--a long, heavy woolen coat worn by Chow in the movie (although it is is actually very unsuited to Hong Kong's hot and humid climate). Further hard-edged roles in more John Woo crime films escalated Chow's popularity even higher, and fans all over the world flocked to see A Better Tomorrow II (1987) (aka "A Better Tomorrow 2"), The Killer (1989) (aka "The Killer"), and Hard Boiled (1992) (aka "Hard Boiled"). With the phenomenal global interest in the HK action genre, Chow was enticed to the United States and appeared in The Replacement Killers (1998) with Mira Sorvino, The Corruptor (1999) with Mark Wahlberg, and, for a change of pace, in the often-filmed romantic tale of Anna and the King (1999). Chow then returned to the Asian cinema circuit and starred in the critically lauded kung fu epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) (aka "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"). His wide appeal can be seen in his "boy next door" type of personality and his ability to play such a broad spectrum of roles from a comedic buffoon to a lovestruck Romeo to a trigger-happy professional killer. A highly entertaining and gifted actor with dynamic on-screen presence, Chow continues to remain in strong demand in many film markets.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Chow Yun Fat, Yifei Liu, Hiroshi Tamaki, Alec Su
  • Directors: Linshan Zhao
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • DVD Release Date: January 8, 2013
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009VL29I0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,938 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First, the description provided by Amazon and Well Go USA (on the packaging of the DVD) confused me when I first started watching the film. Both descriptions reference the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD), and in reality, the film was based upon events at the end of the Eastern or Later Han Dynasty (25 AD - 220 AD) and the very beginning of the Three Kingdoms period. Added to that, the film seemed to be geared towards an audience familiar with this period of time and the major players (dead and alive). As such, I spent a lot of time figuring out who was who and how they fit into the overall story. If you are not too familiar with the story either, I would suggest you briefly educate yourself on Cao Cao and Xian, Emperor of Han, making note of how Dong Zhou fits into the picture. I anticipate this will help you better engage with the characters and enhance your enjoyment of the film.

From a cinematic perspective, I thought cinematographer, Zhao Xiao Ding's, use of muted colors along with bright colors to capture the mood was particularly well done. And as a directorial debut for Zhao Lin Shan, the film was good, but not quite on par with films like 'House of Flying Daggers' or 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'.

Finally, 'Assassins' would have benefitted from a better developed romance between Mu Shun and Ling Ju, particularly as it relates to Mu Shun's role. However, from a political intrigue perspective, it was quite well done. I also liked the inclusion of Chinese opera, it added an emotionally poignant punch at the end.

I think 'Assassins' is probably worth watching at least once, but not a film you will come back to again. (3 1/2 stars)
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Format: Blu-ray
I love Chow Yun Fat, so when I saw that he had a new movie out, I immediately rented it. The newer movies from China are noticeably more beautiful so I was expecting no less from this movie. I was not disappointed in the least about the cinematography. It was extremely crisp and clear and the use of colors and scenery were wonderful. The costumes were also visually stunning. Unfortunately, that was the highlight of the film for me.
This movie is about the story of Cao Cao, played by Chow Yun Fat. I've watched a couple of movies regarding the Three kingdoms of China so I sort of picked up some of the history between the movies and reading what I can about it. The last movie that I saw that showed Cao Cao in a negative light was Red Cliff (by the way, an excellent movie to watch if you like this time period ) so for some reason I had that mental picture of Cao Cao in my mind for this movie. This movie spun off a different view of Cao Cao which had me rooting for him. Interesting since I was predisposed to disliking him based on what I knew. Chow Yun Fat, was as always, amazing an that was probably what got me. He is such a gifted actor that I'm always blown away by how he interprets and portrays the characters that he is playing. He IS the character and I forget that he is just Chow Yun Fat in a costume. Very multi-dimensional picture of his character- which for me kept me interested in his acting more so the movie. There was also a great supporting cast. I've seen a lot of Crystal Liu Fei in her mainland television series and most of her movies so I wasn't particularly very surprised by her performance. The others I was unfamiliar with but I can't say that I was disappointed at all with the cast.
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Format: Blu-ray
When it comes to Chinese historical dramas, the warlord and chancellor Cao Cao has been featured in various films and video games.

A man who has been portrayed as cruel in order to achieve dominance in China and thus looked at as a tyrant, he is also praised as a military genius. But while historians will forever debate Cao Cao and many loose film adaptations continue to be created on historical figures, in today's modern age, you tend to watch these films and not take it so much as factual history but as entertainment.

And who best to write the film than Bin Wang ("House of Flying Daggers", "Hero") and feature the work of director Linshan Zhao. And for marketability, cast as Cao Cao is actor Chow Yun-Fat ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "The Killer", "Hard Boiled", "Curse of the Golden Flower"), to promote the film overseas, Japanese actor Hiroshi Tamaki ("Nodame Cantabile", "Last Christmas", "Waterboys") was also cast as the character Mu Shun and cast for the female lead of Ling Ju is up-and-coming actress Crystal Liu Yi Fei ("White Vengeance", "The Forbidden Kingdom").


"The Assassins" is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio) with beautiful cinematography by Xiaoding Zhao ("House of the Flying Daggers", "Curse of the Golden Flower", "The Flowers of War"). With that being said, it looks like there was quite a bit of experimentation on colors. For one, the film looks great when it showcases more blues or even the red dress of Lingju. Picture quality also has some softness and the occasional white specks (which was actually surprising considering this film was released in theaters less than four months ago. But while the film is not the most detailed in HD, it does look good most of the time.
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