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T (2008)
Legendary Assassin

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 05/01/2009
Summary: five more bowls of rice...

bo (wu jing) travels to a small island, off hong kong, to kill and decapitate chairman ma (kau chim-man), a leader of a criminal gang who is hiding there. after carrying out his task, bo finds himself stuck on the island, as a monsoon warning has been issued and the ferry, that has just arrived, will not be leaving. what's worse, is that fat wing (lam suet) and a bunch of men frm ma's gang have just arrived on the island. bo's attempts to keep a low profile take a dent when he saves hiu wor (celina jade), a lady cop, from falling out of a tree. still, surely hanging out with a cop should be pretty safe...

so, yet another attempt by wu jing to fulfill the "next big thing" tag that he's been burdened with for the last thirteen years. he is, without a doubt, a very talented martial artist and, bless him, he does try. still, despite numerous, impressive supporting roles, he has never managed to carry a film on his own and take the next step in his career. i'm pretty sure i probably typed the same paragraph of text after watching 'fatal contact', which was a diabolical film, with outstanding fight sequences. 'legendary assassin' is a much better film, narrative wise - although it's still only mediocre, on that front, despite the vast improvement.

unfortunately, the action sequences are not up to the standard of 'fatal contact': although very watchable, they're wire heavy, tamer, less exciting than 'fatal contact', and nothing that your average teen idol, action star wannabe, couldn't pull off. a shame.

another wasted opportunity. maybe next time...

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 04/17/2009
Summary: Bring me the head of Chairman Ma

Bo (Wu Jing) assassinates and beheads Chairman Ma, the head of a Hong Kong crime organisation, but is foiled in his escape from the outlying island by a typhoon warning. Temporarily stuck, he befriends pretty police officer Hiu Wor (Celina Jade) while the triad gang and the police are both searching for him.

Before the film begins, I had a shock: the Seasonal films logo comes up on screen. I’d seriously thought Ng See-Yuen’s company had gone the way of the dodo in the early eighties. What’s more, when the film starts, Kara Hui Ying-Hung appears, in what amounts to as an extended cameo. It’s quite a way to open a film, but what follows is not quite so surprising.

The story’s got great potential: a morally ambiguous killer trapped on an urban island while the bad guys (headed by Lam Suet) and the cops track him down. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make the most of the premise and instead of feeling like a claustrophobic cat-and-mouse thriller, you often forget that Bo has nowhere to run to.

While this can be overlooked, the action scenes are a real puzzler. Everyone knows by now that Wu Jing is the real deal. So why, then, does he choose to shoot all the action scenes with fast editing and close-ups? It’s almost criminal that you never actually get to see what he can do. Even stranger when you realise that Wu Jing actually co-directed the movie. If there’s one performer who doesn’t need such smoke and mirrors (and wires), it’s Wu Jing.

The supporting cast are passable if nothing more. A lot rides on the chemistry between Wu Jing and Celina Jade, and this is pulled off just about (but it’s a close call). There are also a couple of moments of slapstick comedy that doesn’t fit in with the dark tone of the rest of the film. It’s like they wanted to make a dark gritty tale but got nervous and added a couple of laughs along the way.

The film is saved from total loss by the final showdown, which while not Wu Jing at his best, is definitely atmospheric and exciting. He takes on dozens of mobsters at once in a scene reminiscent of the scene in THE MATRIX RELOADED where Neo takes on all those Agent Smiths but without the CGI.

But when the dust settles, this is another disappointment from Wu Jing, and I can’t be alone in starting to feel very frustrated with his output. He has the potential to be the biggest action star on the planet, but keeps making mediocre films. I really hope he can pull something out of the bag soon or people are going to give up.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 03/21/2009

Wu Jing has always seemed to be the perpetual "always the bridesmaid, never the bride" kind of guy in Hong Kong movies. He's solid enough in supporting roles, like in SPL, but can never seem to carry a film when he's the star. Now, with Legendary Assassin, Wu is not only the star, but a co-director as well. So will this finally be the movie that will launches him to the level of the A-listers?

Sadly, the answer is no. Legendary Assassin is all about ups and downs. The acting features seasoned veterans like Kara Hui, Lam Suet, and Alex Fong, who do a good job with their small roles. But then, on the other hand, the viewer is "treated" to actors like Celina Jade, who is very pretty, but can't speak Cantonese worth a damn. And don't get me started on Sammy Leung (I still refuse to call him just "Sammy") who still manages to out-stink epic Hong Kong acting duds like Michael Wong and Ekin Cheng. Someone please remind me exactly how the hell does this guy still get acting roles?

As for Legendary Assassin's action scenes, they also produce mixed results. There's really no doubt that Wu Jing is talented in the martial arts department -- one just needs to look at his fight versus Donnie Yen in SPL for proof of that -- but the kung fu here is so heavily wire-assisted that it feels like you could have really placed just about anybody in Wu Jing's place and gotten pretty much the same output. It doesn't help matters that a lot of the same moves (most notably spinning kicks) get repeated over and over, which ends up giving the fights a bit of a stale feeling towards the end of the film.

At its' core, though, Legendary Assassin is a passable enough movie for those looking for some brain-dead action fare. Despite its' problems, die-hard action/kung fu fans will probably still get a bit of a thrill from the proceedings. This film is the cinematic equivalent of a generic beat-em-up game like the SNES "classic" Rival Turf -- entertaining for a while, but a bit boring towards the end, and ultimately totally forgettable after you're done with it.

Reviewer Score: 6