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The Emperor and the Assassin (1998)

Jing Ke ci Qin Wang (original title)
Trailer
1:26 | Trailer
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 the assassin
Zhou Sun ... Dan, Prince of Yan
Xiaohe Lü Xiaohe Lü ... General Fan Yuqi
Zhiwen Wang ... Marquis Changxin
Kaige Chen ... Lu Buwei Prime Minister
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 King of Qin First Emperor
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the time, this was the most expensive Chinese production ever. See more »

Alternate Versions

First cut was deemed regime-critic by chinese censors and therefore rejected. Approximately 30 minutes were cut to make a more regime-friendly version. See more »

Connections

References Qin song (1996) See more »

User Reviews

Good, but ...
9 June 2003 | by FilmFlaneurSee all my reviews

Kaige Chen's epic co-incidentally covers much of the same historical period as Xiaowen Zhou's Qin Song /Emperor's Shadow (1996) but, despite the greater length and presumably larger budget, it emerges as the lesser of the two epics. Both films concentrate on the first unification of China by the ruthless and troubled King of Qin and feature a conspicuous branding of a female lead. But whereas Emperor's Shadow gives the whole process an obsessive gravitas, despite Kaige Chen's best efforts (and he manages some beautiful looking compositions) the present production is more diffuse and, to me anyway, was on a different level. The earlier film is more powerful (there is nothing as striking as the Tarkovsky-like 'sacrifice of the bells' moment, which is at the start of Qin Song, for instance) even though Kaige Chen has the full advantage of some marvellous locations. The portrait of the Qin King is also less impressive here. Fengyi Zhan simply has far less of a cruel, regal presence in the role than does Wen Jiang, and there is nothing like the overpowering relationship between the Emperor-to-be and his 'soulmate' - be it assassin or musician - that exists in the earlier work holding the long narrative together.

Having said that, there is much well mounted angst and drama as the king inevitably exploits many of him around him, some grand battle scenes, and a lot else to enjoy. I would also add Musa to the list of worth-seeing Asian epics which are currently available on cheap import DVDs. This current title has the best picture with none of the occasionally distracting compression problems of the the others (the film is on a 2 sided disk).


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | DTS-Stereo | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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