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
The staging of the battle sequences between the forces of Qin and its enemies, Han and Zhao, also proved to be a major logistical feat. Shot on the Bashan plateau, bordering Inner Mongolia, these dramatic scenes involved the coordination of thousands of horses, chariots, stunt people and extras. Huilui was chosen as the site for the exterior shots of the Zhao countryside, while Shidu, southwest of Beijing, served as the location of Jing Ke's fateful farewell at the Yishui river. See more »
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 »
Historic Epic that blows away "Patriot" or "Gladiator"
After seeing dressed up action films, like the two mentioned above, Emperor and the Assassin was a godsend. This film was such a marvelous blend of action, intrigue, and personality, and I'm sure I'll see it again and again in years to come.
Some of the complaints about the movie have been the golden/brown tint and the quick, disorienting editing. However, I loved both of these qualities in the movie, though the editing did take some time to get used to. A great example of it, is when we're introduced to Jing Ke, the assassin. He is offered an assignment for five thousand, and we see a close up of his face as he demands ten thousand. The next shot shows him with sword drawn, in the house of his victims. That whole introduction to the assassin was marvelously edited, in my opinion. You have to realize that in order to fit the epic plot into just under three hours, a lot of tiny details needed to be cut out. The quick editing also makes the movie seem much shorter than it really is.
Someone said that the swordfighting in the movie (what little of it there was) seemed like high school drama, but I strongly disagree. Most of the action is captured in a few shots, making it seem much more realistic. In so many american films, we see a a flash of a dozen close ups, without getting a feel for what is even happening! Also, the constant use of slow motion in many movies gets so old. By having the fighting in this movie fast and furious, it is much more affecting.
I won't give away the ending, but it was really suspenseful and surprising. I had no idea what would happen (being unfamiliar with Chinese history helped), and was on the edge of my seat! So, to conclude, if you like sweeping historical epics, make sure to see this! I really like the films of Kurosawa, and saw some similarities here, so also if you like his movies, see this!!
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