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The Emperor and the Assassin (1998)

Jing Ke ci Qin Wang (original title)
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In pre-unified China, the King of Qin sends his concubine to a rival kingdom to produce an assassin for a political plot, but as the king's cruelty mounts she finds her loyalty faltering.

Director:

Kaige Chen
7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Li Gong ... Lady Zhao
Fengyi Zhang ... Jing Ke
Zhou Sun ... Dan, Prince of Yan
Xiaohe Lü Xiaohe Lü ... General Fan Yuqi
Zhiwen Wang ... Marquis Changxin
Kaige Chen ... Lu Buwei
Yongfei Gu Yongfei Gu ... Queen Mother
Benshan Zhao ... Gao Jianli
Haifeng Ding Haifeng Ding ... Qin Wuyang
Changjiang Pan ... Prison Official
Xun Zhou ... Blind Girl
Xuejian Li ... Ying Zheng
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Xu Chu Xu Chu ... 10 State warrior
Dong Han Dong Han ... Qin cart driver
Bing Lin Bing Lin ... 10 State warrior
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Storyline

In the 3rd Century BC, Ying Zheng, heir to the Kingdom of Qin, seeks to dominate the remaining six Chinese kingdoms. Ying's strategy is to seem invincible. Ying sends his concubine Zhao to the Han Kingdom as a spy, to enlist an assassin he can conquer. Zhao persuades Jing Ke, but falls in love. Written by <ssrich@cityu.edu.hk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

China | Japan | France

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

14 November 1998 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Emperor and the Assassin See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$47,295, 19 December 1999

Gross USA:

$1,267,239

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,267,239
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | DTS-Stereo | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Handan castle was erected in Zhuozhou for the filming of the invasion and the subsequent destruction by fire of the conquered city. Additional scenes depicting the infernos consuming both Handan castle and the city of Xinzheng were shot at the People's Liberation Army film studios. See more »

Alternate Versions

On the Chinese (region 6) DVD edition (anamorphic with 5.1) Zhou-sun's scene, the blind girl pleading for death after the assassin had killed her whole family, is completely replaced by the assassin's verbal depiction of the incident. The end credits, however, did include Zhou-sun. See more »

Connections

References The Emperor's Shadow (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Chinese history with a Shakespearean twist
23 June 2003 | by senortuffySee all my reviews

This is an epic film about the unification of the ancient kingdoms of China in the third century BC. What makes it interesting is the tragic downfall of the king and all the palace intrigue going on around him. It reminded me a bit of "King Lear" and some of the other Shakespeare plays.

The king starts out with noble ambitions, to unify the kingdoms under one ruler and to stop all the quarrelling so that the people can prosper and lead better lives. He and his childhood sweetheart, played beautifully by Li Gong, concoct a scheme whereby she pretends to go into exile in a rival kingdom in order to recruit an assassin to kill the king, thus giving him a pretext to go to war. But while she's away, the king becomes sadistic in his lust for power and goes on a killing spree.

There are numerous side plots that keep the action going. There is the Marquis, who pretends to be stupid and foppish but who's really very clever and wants to become king himself. He fathers two children with the king's mother and manages to keep it secret for years. Then there is the Prime Minister, a political rival to the king, who turns out to really be his father.

The assassin is a complex character himself. An adept swordsman and killer, he is undergoing a reformation when the king's lover comes to recruit him. He wants nothing more with killing, but is eventually won over by Li Gong (who wouldn't be?) when he sees how cruel and vicious the king has become.

Some spectacular cinematography, especially the battle scenes that are carried out on a grand scale - like they used to say, a cast of thousands, literally. The acting is OK, nothing special. It's the story that's interesting, though at over two and a half hours, it pushes the limit.

Definitely worth viewing.


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