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|Index||14 reviews in total|
This is not an art-house movie nor the most amazing action movie you
will ever see. But it is a good, solid, entertaining action movie.
The relationship between Jacky Wu and Celina Jade was nice, the café scene was both funny and with great action, the scenes at the police station were a mixture of tension and comedy, and the climax fight scene was ridiculous but who cares?
I'd never seen Jacky Wu before and I found his silent stoic character rather enjoyable. This appears to be Celina Jade's first film and she was excellent, as well as rather attractive. Secondary characters played there roles acceptably (although the blonde policeman seemed to be in the wrong film).
The point is that I was thoroughly entertained for the duration, and even my wife enjoyed it. Overall I think that's pretty good.
Being a big fan of Wu Jing, I've waited nearly a year for Legendary
Assassin after his dazzling moves in Fatal Move left me in limbo. I'm
not sure how big a role he played as co-director in this film, but the
direction and the story was fairly mediocre. It takes place on an
island where he meets the girl cop (Celina Jade), and gets chased
around by the bad guys. They are trapped on the island because a
tropical typhoon has shut down all the ferries. It feels a bit like
Assault on Precinct 13 but nowhere near as intense or exciting. A 6 to
6.5 rating is about right.
The thing about Jacky is that he always seems to fall short of making that 'big break' movie that truly shows how great an actor he can be. In Legendary Assassin, his acting is pretty much exactly the same as in Fatal Contact, whenever someone talks to him he smiles and waits a few seconds before replying. He plays the underdog secret assassin/kungfu master alternate identity that is in danger of being typecast nowadays. The big difference is that he talks a lot less than in Fatal Contact, and therefore in my opinion it is a step back. He actually took a step back from Fatal Contact. There should have been much more dialogue between him and Celina. The fighting scenes were slightly above average, nothing spectacular. A lot of people knock Fatal Move, but I thought it was intended to be over the top and ridiculous, like something out of a Japanese comic, CGI blood spraying all over the place. His fighting scenes were much better in Fatal Move and SPL. I guess I'm a bit spoiled by Donnie Yen, at the moment if Jet Li is considered to be retired, then Donnie reigns supreme (both on the screen and as producer/director) and Jacky is just behind him. In a leading role, Fatal Contact is probably still Jacky's finest, so he needs to step back and evaluate which direction his career should be headed. Perhaps he should take on projects with a solid script and director. I'm a huge fan of Jacky Wu and hope his next project can truly take it to the next level, and break more barriers.
A pleasant surprise is Hong Kong born newcomer Celina Jade making her debut, who is half Chinese and half American. Besides her natural beauty, she can also speak three languages (English, Cantonese, Mandarin). Perhaps because of the fact that she was actually born and raised in Hong Kong, she performed admirably in Legendary Assassin and looked very natural on the screen, never fazed or looking out of place alongside a solid cast with some old time faces. Besides those dreamy eyes, her language and culture is her greatest asset, as despite playing a naive cop, you take her seriously as she delivered her lines with sincerity and realism rather than just being silly or trying to look cute. She also displayed a wide variety of emotions convincingly, and is definitely one to look out for in future Hong Kong productions.
Frankly I do not understand why this movie deserves such a pathetic IMDb score, given its decent plot and great story-telling. The movie reminded me of Infernal Affairs, which is not a bad example to look up to. It brought me back to the Islands District of Hong Kong, where life is much simpler. The dingy alleys, plainly clothed local police officers and a lone traveler from culturally different mainland China drew a picture in sharp contrast with penthouse office, high heeled diva and black suits donned gangs. The movie gave a successful preach that it's not appearance or wealth but compassion and dedication to higher ideals that makes the world a better place and life a fulfilling process. It thoroughly warmed my heart and plenty of unanticipated turns kept me absorbed throughout. I found it much more interesting than Ip Man, an over-hyped movie full of political correctness. I beg to differ with the other comment doubting Jacky Wu's performance and caliber as a co-director. I would definitely recommend it to my friends, who may even not turn out an Kung Fu movie fan.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The good thing about this movie is that it does not pretend to be an
"Infernal Affair" with convoluted plots or an artsy study of human
nature. With a simple revenge story, ample first-rate action and
competent acting, it offers what movies are usually expected to offer
The stage is a moderately populated island temporarily cut off from the outside world by a storm. The scene: a cosy little local police station, a mysterious stranger (a loner who fights like the devil), a murder involving a body without the head, confrontation between the cobs and goons that outnumber them all adding up to good dramatic moments.
Since Jet Li, Jacky Wu is the best thing from the academies of martial arts of China. The adept camera work and editing fits in well with his crisp, superb action. There is one sequence in the finale that is reminiscent of the one-against-a-hundred scene in Matrix. Fresh face (for the cinema at least) Eurasian Celina Jade has everything it takes to make it to the top in Hong Kong, and maybe even go Hollywood-bound like Maggie Q. It's a question of whether she gets the necessary breaks. "Legendary assassin" also has a supporting cast of over half a dozen Hong Kong favourites from contemporary pop heartthrob Alex Fong to early generation women action star WAI Ying-hung guaranteed to please the local audience.
I may call this film kind of refreshment, even if we agree it has cheep plot concept all the way from the start. What I like about this film is that it is opposite of now-days Hollywood failure attempts to make a good film from the great investments. This film looks like attempt to make a second rate Hollywood movie but it finally got into more than that. Good directing, very good camera, pretty good SF martial arts effects (even though I don't like such fairy tale kung-fu picture) and excellent acting. What I also like about this film is charming and natural style of film making, kind of discrete and cute sense of humor, easy to swallow but still not underlined as a movie trademark. All in all, it is far from dull film and solid entertainment in the sleepy nights.
Tagline: An empty directorial debut from Wu Jing
Review by Neo: Wu Jing first comes into my attention when he first starred with the beautiful Christy Chung in Tai Chi 2 (aka Tai Chi Boxer). Since then it took him exactly a decade before he showed his head again. For whatever reason, he was one of the best things in the extremely engaging SPL and followed it up with plenty of leading and supporting turns. There is no doubting that this lad does have potential, but as a director, Wu Jing is too simple in scenes that should be more complicated and far too exaggerated in what should be more straight forward film-making. Having a bad story is alone a poor beginning, but that's not to say that Legendary Assassin is plain bad news. There are plenty of fight scenes that are alone worthy of the starving action fans' attention, including the restaurant fight which included a cameo by Ronald Cheng. A decent film at best, average acting, some quality fight scenes, but in the end, Legendary Assassin disappoints as it just never seems to take off.
The movie is basically starts off with Wu Jing hobbling to a mysterious island off the coast of Hong Kong to state the obvious for the purpose of killing someone. In the process and somehow, he met up with this cute looking police girl (played by Celina Jade) and from there one fight follows another and before you realise, he is back in Hong Kong, gangster, police are chasing after him and eventually the cliché of a hero fighting to save his girl which is so obvious that it does not require a mention.
So what's wrong with Legendary Assassin? The answer is simple, whenever there is a problem we should always try to find out by going to the root of the issue. The problem is the story, and then it comes down to some originally directing and the fact that this is an action film, where adrenalin is meant to be rushing. However, this is not the case and the result is leaving the audience with disappointment and perhaps something better from Hong Kong's lone action cinema new generation hope with Wu Jing. As mention before, there was one brutal fight scene that is of interest, in the restaurant fight during the heavy wind and rain, but apart from that those good moments are far and few in occurrence.
Going on to the acting, there is no question that Wu Jing is yet to experience what it is like to actually act. Here he is as stoic as ever or perhaps as wooden would provide a better description. While he graces the screen whenever he attempts to fight, his character is rather boring to follow. It is a shame as he was so cool in SPL, as the silent assassin and there were times in the past couple of years, where I called him the young Jet Li. Then again, Jet Li used to act rather stoic in his early days before alighting the screen with some dazzling displays like Fearless, Hero (he was stoic yes, but there was depth with his underlying performance) and more recently in the critically acclaimed role in Warlords. Let's hope this lad will continue to improve and seriously one must mention if he is half as successful as Jet Li, it will be pronounced as some sort of success. Turning to newcomer Celina Jade, she is actually likable and decently natural for a first timer. There was plenty of rawness in her acting, but somehow he manages to pull through to become one of the few good things about the movie. On another note, she looks great in uniform too. However, supporting players like Alex Fong and Ronald Cheng, either overacts or leaning towards annoying than likability.
All in all, Legendary Assassin is really a disappointment and even a step back from Wu Jing previous starring vehicles like Fatal Move or even Fatal Contact. Maybe Wu Jing needs more time and work with more different kinds of director before donning the hat of a director. Maybe Wu Jing need to start stretching his acting a bit more or even take a leaf out of Donnie Yen's unashamed style of overacting or even his restrained performance in Yip Man. Whatever the case is, Legendary Assassin is by no means good enough for both a Wu Jing's film standard and the potential he can certainly reach. While it may seem rather critical, but sometimes, when some needs to be said, it owe to be spoken, and the reality is that Legendary Assassin is disappointingly below average and a clear step in the wrong direction of a promising career (Neo 2009)
I rate it 5/10
It doesn't make you think really nor cry, but it does provide with some
good old fashion ass-kicking...
And what ass-kicking it is!
Very well orchestrated fights but of course it's not just all random fights it does have a story, and the story is fairly good although at times a little confusing possibly because of the way it was edited, it does feel a little bit like there was a scene missing here and there.
Not to the point that it takes you out of the movie or anything though.
2 likable leads in the shapes of Wu Jing and Celina Jade, who both do very well as does the rest of the cast.
Not flawless by any means, but enjoyable.
2008 would be a good year for HK style action films if it was just for
"Ip Man" which takes the traditional kung fu film of the early 1980's
and updates it. Here we have an updating of the typical police action
film of the late 1980's. Looks like 2008 has been a banner year.
Combining gangster genre with the sort of police action that Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock would be in, we have a well shot, exciting police drama with great kung fu action (no guns) and some light comedy. What takes this above the average film from the 1980's are the character touches that usually didn't happen in the older films. I found a lot of the films from that era to be boring or too stupid but this film held my attention for the full 80 minutes.
Good acting, great to excellent action choreography, fine direction and photography. I highly recommend this film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Legendary Assassin is the directorial debut of both Wu Jing and Nicky
Li. Nicky Li is a former fight choreography and stunt member of the
Jackie Chan Stunt Team, who has had collaborated with Wu Jing in
several projects like Fatal Contact and Invisible Target. And as debuts
go this one is very solid to good.
What I like about this film the most that it moves along in a nice pace where not a minute is wasted with redundant sub plots or other distractions. Every event or character interaction is functional. Through the non action scenes we get to know the main character and kind of what makes him tick. I say kind of since not much background is given on Bo Tong Lam (Wu Jing). But he is not your typical good guy as he is capable of cold blooded murder if the title didn't gave away this already. After assassinating a big crime boss (who was hiding out on a small island) he is forced to stay on the island since there are no ferries coming in because of a typhoon alert. It is this moment where he makes a connection with Hiu Wor (Celina Jade who you might recognize from Arrow where she played Shado). He gets to spend some nice moments with her and her colleagues and this was very pleasant to see because they make you care about the characters despite them just having met.
And since you care it does intensify the action. It's such a simple device to do this and yet many similar films fail to do this. So I am glad that Wu Jing understood this. Now he does make some mistakes by making the film a little too serious and dramatic but I guess that you can't escape from tragedy in Asian films. But first and foremost it's done in service of the action and that is a good thing. It makes you involved and will make the action have more impact. The action on it's own is what you can expect from Wu Jing or Jacky Wu and is hard hitting and stylish. Sometimes wireworks are used but very sparingly.
Overall this film delivers on the action and makes me want Wu Jing to do more projects. Wolf Warrior was excellent, let's hope the sequel to that will be too.
Fair to say , the story in total is appealing , well constructed and
doesn't fail at any moment , like in many other movies . The need for
revenge is justified and come reasonable to our minds . One exception
of course , fighting 100 persons which was one of the many reasons that
lead me to wish another possible remake ( Even Bruce Lee would have run
away or found out a better approach to deal with ) . Frankly , I don't
know how someone out there wants us to believe this , logic is a virtue
Even the end leaves us with a strange loyalty to the title ... Legendary he is .. and still alive and kicking somewhere in some cafe . Leaves us with two ends , one for those whom seeing the logical ending and one for those directors faithful to the title ...
The actors , except jacky and Celina , are totally mediocre and beginners in every way ; We see here and there each aspect of the mediocre scenery of the cheap china movies . There were goes the most weak points , the perfect destroyers of a good movie , making a big part of it unbalanced with some highly performed scenes from Celina and Jackie . Both , they carried the movie to a respectable level somehow . The last scene with a beautiful music scores high and gives you a non regret of a wasted time .
Overall , i'll give 7 stars for the performance of the two heroes despite the many other bad aspects in it and , A future better remake is a wishful thinking...
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