The Emperor and the Assassin (Jing Ke ci Qin Wang)

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81%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 36

79%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,375
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Movie Info

A lavishly produced historical drama from China, Jing Ke Ci Qin Wang/The Emperor and the Assassin tells the complex, multi-facetted story of the man who became the first Emperor of a unified China, another man who has sworn to kill him, and a woman who is loved by both men. Late in the Third Century B.C., when China was comprised of seven rival kingdoms, Ying Zheng (Li Xuejian) was the leader of Qin. Ying Zheng had a dream in which he joined together the seven kingdoms into a single utopian state, and taking this as a mandate from God, he invaded the nearby state of Han as the first step toward this goal. However, not everyone in the neighboring states was happy with Ying Zheng's crusade, which seemed to indicate a lengthy war with many casualties. Lady Zhao (Gong Li), Ying's lover, devised a scheme to help Ying Zheng take over the nearby and uncooperative state of Yan; she fabricated a fake assassination plot against him, and framed the leader of Yan, once Ying Zheng's childhood friend, as the man behind the murderous plot. However, Lady Zhao did not choose the would-be assassin wisely; while Jing Ke (Zhang Fengyi) loved her and was willing to do her bidding, Jing Ke's previous assassination assignment caused the unintended death of an innocent blind girl, which left him full of regret and a bit unstable. When Jing Ke learned a closely guarded secret about Ying Zheng's past, he became blindly determined to kill the would-be emperor, whatever the cost. Produced on a lavish budget by Chinese standards ($15 million), Jing Ke Ci Qin Wang/The Emperor and the Assassin was directed by Chen Kaige, best known to Western audiences for the international success Farewell My Concubine.

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Cast

Li Gong
as Lady Zhao
Fengyi Zhang
as Jing Ke
Li Xuejian
as Ying Zheng, King Of Qin
Sun Zhou
as Dan, Prince Of Yan
Xiaohe Lu
as Gen. Fan Yuqi
Zhiwen Wang
as Marquis Changxin
Kaige Chen
as Lu Buwei
Gu Yongfei
as Queen Mother
Zhao Benshan
as Gao Jianli
Haifeng Ding
as Qin Wuyang
Changjiang Pan
as Prison Official
Xun Zhou
as Blind Girl
Lu Xiahoe
as General Fan Yuqi
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Critic Reviews for The Emperor and the Assassin (Jing Ke ci Qin Wang)

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (7)

Audience Reviews for The Emperor and the Assassin (Jing Ke ci Qin Wang)

  • Feb 11, 2013
    Loads of costumer details, wartime battles, and a bit of Chinese history combine to make for an interesting couple of hours as the King of Qin ignominiously struggles to unite a divided China dead set against any grand uniting schemes or dreams (imagine as if Napolean tried uniting Europe, w/o all that annoying English spoiling interference!). Along the way there's spikes in the action, time for some fingerpointing drama, Dallas/Dynasty style, but not so much so as you lose track of the mostly unknown to the West story.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 04, 2010
    Loved it....although I admit to being a little confused through some of it. Just wait until Chinese directors turn their cameras on non period pieces.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • May 16, 2009
    <i>The Emperor and the Assassin</i> is a historical drama, with a touch of Shakespeare, from writer and director Kaige Chen.<p>The plot does have its moments and it is interesting at times, but it is just too drawn out. The film is broken into chapters, which works out quite well with the story, however it isn't until the last chapter, which has the same title as the film, where things get really interesting. Unfortunately, this final chapter doesn't start until 2 hours and 20 minutes in. Yep, this is a long film. 2 hours and 40 minutes long. Despite having an interesting story, there needs to be more going on, like action or an upbeat tempo among other things. This film hardly has any of those, and the story, as deep as it is, can only hold for so long.</p><p>While the story does deal with the conquering of kingdoms throughout China, the action is very slim. There are no huge epic battles. Actually there are, but they are not shown. The film focuses more on the characters themselves.</p><p>The acting is good. Gong Li, Fengyi Zhang, and Xuejian Li all carry this film with ease. Kaige Chen even finds a role for himself to play. Also, be on the lookout for a young Zhou Xun.</p><p><i>The Emperor and the Assassin</i> isn't a waste of time, however fans that can appreciate a good story, with little in the way of action, may find this enjoyable.
    JY S Super Reviewer
  • May 12, 2008
    gorgeous epic about china's first emperor, every bit as good as hero and said to be more historically accurate. also it's almost 3 hours long but it's a complicated story! and it's not really a wuxia film
    Stella D Super Reviewer

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