Sunday, April 10, 2011

Legendary Assassin (2009)

In my years of wading through the recesses of Lionsgate direct to DVD movies, I've noticed that they like to release action movies from Asia. While this can go from shockingly enjoyable ("Three Kingdoms") to at least tolderable ('Fireball") to the outright unwatchable ("Four Dragons"), it's nice to see a studio offer something to fans of these movies, even if it is complete crap. Thankfully, Jacky Wu and Chung Chi Li's Action/Drama "Legendary Assassin" fits into the shockingly enjoyable category.

Wu (acting under the pseudonym Wu Jung) is Boo Tong Lam, an assassin who whose fresh from his latest assignment-knocking off a big time crime lord. Well, he ends up saving a pretty cop Hiu Wor (Celina Jade), and the next thing you know, some thugs who want payback for the murder of their boss come knocking in...

Apparently, Wu has been touted by some as the new Jackie Chan or Jet Li. I honestly don't see it (he's not exactly the most convincing actor), but "Legendary Assassin" is a pleasant little surprise. The direction is stylish and flashy, but thankfully not to the point of being distracting, the other performances are all fine (Jade in particular stands out-plus, she's a real cutie), and it all moves at a reasonable clip. Best of all, it manages to mix action with decently written character drama and interaction, which a lot of action movies released by Lionsgate seem to be lacking.

So, how about the action scenes? Well, they're really good IMO. Again, the film can be a bit flashy, but there's enough bloodshed, broken bones and brutality to please fans of these kinds of movies. In this case, I can totally see some of the hype Wu has garnered-now if only he could work on that acting thing.

So, it's not perfect, but I found this movie to be a nice little surprise that, while nothing spectacular, still offers enough to keep me entertained. Besides, isn't that what you want out of a lot of action movies?

Rating: 6.5/10

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