Bodyguards and Assassins (Shi yue wei cheng) Reviews
to be boring. Maybe that's because I'm not familiar with the actual history behind the story, but Bodyguards & Assassins was just an "okay" movie to me.
The acting is excellent all around, many of the actors are major stars, such as Donnie Yen, Nicholas Tse, Leon Lai, and Tony Leung Ka-Fai, but the film is an ensemble piece and each star disappears into their character, many of whom are playing against type. The action is top notch, as expected with Donnie Yen's involvement. Yen has a brutal fight with Cung Le that involves some very nice choreography and some parkour action as well.
Set, editing, camera work, action direction all become an integral part of this top-notch motion picture, which must be recognized as among the very best of Chinese language motion pictures in recent memory.
I highly recommend this one.
But the Manchu Queen has sent her legions of assassins to intercept the Envoy and kill him at all costs. The small group must protect the Envoy in his journey through Hong Kong preaching democracy.
A powerful movie, the first half sees the establishing of the background and characters, the various relationships and conflicts that arise which leads to final "Gauntlet" run. Towards the end, it becomes heart breaking and emotional, even though the Mission was completed, it was an insight into how many lives that were lost for history to begin. Of course, the Martial Arts is right in the second half, as it doesn't let up. But the movie is more storytelling than action.
A great cast led by the impressive Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Tony Leung and comedy veteran Eric Tsang and supported by the liked of popular youngster Nicholas Tse, its another quality period piece,but it does lack that special something that would make it stand out... the concept and story just doesn't do it enough I think. Maybe its slow start could be an issue, because it is very un-Hong Kong, but in the end it was a successful result.
Ironically, looking at today, a movie like this could only have been a dream, as the message and fight for democracy wouldn't sit well with the reigning government of the PRC, hence why it was set in back in the day.
Something interesting to watch and think about, as it does show that the fight for freedom and liberty is everyone's responsibility, no matter who you are, a gambler, a drug addict, an exiled religious figure or even the son of a powerful businessman... or a businessman yourself.
For that, Donnie Yen is on equal footing as Leon Lai and former NBA (and CBA) player Mengk Bateer. They have roles that are fairly one pitch characters and serve a purpose for the climax. Lot's of other stars show up like Eric Tsang, Big Tony and a cameo to get the movie started for Jacky Cheung. However, the only real people you can say this movie showcases are Nicolas Tse and the guy who plays the son. And their stories are the best to follow. Also, Cung Le looks huge in this movie. Sure he doesn't have any scenes with Bateer, but he's not a big guy since his stats are clearly in the fighting profile, but he seems like a hulk in this movie. Must be that his bald cap is bigger than Yen's.
However, for the melodrama of this movie, the characters just seems too cartoonish. It make the drama hollow and there really are a lot of characters. It's not the greatest, not the worst. But for me, a disappointment.
Enjoy the fight scenes or not--they do in fact further the story--the narrative is compelling, the characters engaging and the tension very real. A satisfying ending to the story, which is, after all, based on historical events. A darned good film. Watch it.
This is a historical drama with some neat kung-fu thrown in. Beautiful to look at. From the elegance of the costumes to the dirty streets in the ghetto.
Bodyguards and Assassins has charm, tragedy, drama, loyalty, respect, ignorance and more going for it. Slightly long but thoroughly enjoyable.
I was unaware of this part of Chinas history (boy do the English come off bad yet again) and I'm glad I watched it.