Dazzling martial-arts epic. Mr. & Mrs. Smith meets Face/Off in this Chinese swordplay epic where killers yearn for lives of quiet domesticity.
It's got a very classic feel, applying wirework sparingly and focusing on the intertwined dialogue and motives of a large cast within the jiang hu milieu. The fights are intricate, concentrating on exotic weapons and styles, but mixing it up with some proxy fighting and concealed technique.
The cinematography is largely excellent. There is beauty in many scenes and they capture the emotion of the characters and their circumstances very well.
Michelle Yeoh's role in this film is a welcome return to form for the actress that has not had such a meaty role tailor-made for her since Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Her natural beauty and elegance complements Zeng Jing's graceful assassin perfectly and serves as a good foil against co-star Jung Woo-sung's rugged handsomeness. Yeoh and Jung also share great chemistry, and it is firmly to their credit that the film ends on a deeply poignant note.