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Friday, February 26, 2010

[8.00/10] Bodyguards and Assassins a.k.a. Shi yue wei cheng (2009)

Bodyguards and Assassins


Shi yue wei cheng (2009)

Produced by Peter Chan Ho-Sun and directed by Teddy Chan, this refreshing mix of drama, action and politics is the best movie that came out from China in 2009 and one of the best of the year in general. It's one of the high echelon of action films for reasons other than just the spectacular fight sequences. It is not often Asian cinema will get a piece of fantastic historical productions which boasts A-listed casts and veteran actors together, and also gives the story a deep rooted details to the point to make the movie much more easier to digest. The first part of "Bodyguards and Assassins", while lacking in action, is consistently engaging, establishing on the macro level the historical backdrop, and on a micro level the characters. The second part is action extravaganza - one of the most exhilarating fight-fest that you're going to see coming from any action movie this year! Even more important is that this is not fighting just for the sake of fighting, but for a course established with heartfelt dedication, through characters that you will unreservedly root for. There is an entire spectrum of interesting characters, presented with various degrees of depth, as appropriate. "Bodyguards and Assassins" works primarily because we have real characters. This is due in part to the casting of a dozen big name actors, with Donnie Yen, Eric Tsang and Simon Yam among them. Normally the casting of so many actors can work against a film, but here it adds weight and makes the vast number of characters more easily recognizable. Better than the casting in the writing which allows for many small moments that add nice shading to everyone in the tale. Visuals, editing, camera work, action choreography - all become an integral part of this top-notch film, which must be recognized as among the very best of Chinese language motion pictures in recent memory.


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