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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
3 wins & 9 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 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

Plot Keywords:

king | concubine | death | murder | temple | See All (38) »

Genres:

Drama | History

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

Opening Weekend USA:

$47,295, 19 December 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,328,435, 9 July 2000
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 Xianyang palace was reconstructed in its entirety in the city of Dongyang in Zhenjiang province. Much of the film, including the final scene, was shot there. It is now being preserved as a theme park drawing large numbers of tourists. In addition, the capital cities of the other kingdoms featured in the film, Yan Zhao and Han, were constructed as several sights across China. All have been meticulously built to scale with special attention paid to their historical accuracy. See more »

Alternate Versions

Kaige Chen's preferred cut ran 168 minutes. Following pressure from his producers and the U.S. distributor, he prepared a very different 162-minute cut that subsequently became the standard version of the film. The 168-minute cut was only released in Japan and has a more linear narrative, as opposed to the five-chapter structure used in the shorter version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Holiday (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Historic Epic that blows away "Patriot" or "Gladiator"
10 December 2000 | by scipio7See all my reviews

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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