Reign of Assassins

  • 15
  • Su Chao-Pin (2010)
  • Chi (SUB)
  • 103 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

A female warrior attempts to leave her killing days behind in this polished but overblown Chinese period swordplay adventure. Action specialist John Woo takes a co-director credit, though he acts more as producer, with Su Chao-Bin taking most of the directorial duties in a tale that rehashes the identity-swapping conceit of Woo's own Hollywood schlockbuster Face/Off. Here, it's assassin Drizzle (Kelly Lin) who undergoes reconstructive surgery (they used bone-munching beetles to do it back then) after she double-crosses her gang and makes off with the bodily remains of a fabled monk. Drizzle decides to live the quiet life in her new guise of Zeng Jing (played by Michelle Yeoh), but her former colleagues are determined to find and punish her. Inevitably, they succeed in doing so, which is when the movie lurches into overdrive with an exhilarating showdown involving flaming blades, bending swords, flying needles and lots of Crouching Tiger-style rooftop scurrying. It's a shame that the story descends into a series of unlikely character revelations and credibility-busting twists, but it's gamely played by the pan-Asian cast, with Barbie Hsu a delight as a psychopathic nymph, and the experienced Yeoh bringing a much-needed steadying presence to proceedings.

Plot Summary

A former assassin comes into possession of a wise monk's remains, and abandons her violent ways in favour of a simple life as a merchant. However, the past comes back to haunt her when powerful warriors come after her, seeking the power the holy man's ashes will grant them. Martial arts adventure, starring Michelle Yeoh and Woo-sung Jung. In Mandarin.

Cast and crew


Zeng Jing
Michelle Yeoh
Jiang Ah-Sheng
Jung Woo-sung
The Wheel King
Wang Xueqi
Barbie Hsu
Lei Bin
Shawn Yue
Kelly Lin
Zhang Ren Feng
Guo Xiaodong
Tian Qing Tong
Yiyan Jiang
Teal Sword
Pace Wu


Su Chao-Pin
John Woo

Other Information

Mandarin +subtitles
Theatrical distributor: 
Ratpack Films
Violence, brief nudity.
Released 15 Feb 2013