Archive for the John Woo 吴宇森 Category

“Anticipated films lock China dates” – The Grandmasters, Seediq Bale slated to open in mainland [Film Business Asia / Sweet & Sour Cinema]

Posted in China, Jackie Chan 成龙, John Woo 吴宇森, Kung Fu, Sweet & Sour Cinema, Yuen Wo Ping 袁和平 on April 18, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Stephen Cremin

Wed, 18 April 2012

* Excerpted *

Distribution News

Three long-awaited films have finally locked their China release dates after months of speculation.

WONG Kar-wai 王家衛’s martial arts drama The Grandmasters 一代宗師 will open on 18 Dec, WEI Te-sheng 魏德聖’s war epic Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale 賽德克・巴萊 on 10 May, and Dayyan ENG 伍仕賢’s black comedy Inseparable 形影不離 on 4 May 2012.

The opening of the still-in-production The Grandmasters in mid-December…[means i]t will likely go head-to-head with Ang LEE 李安’s Life of Pi, while Jackie CHAN 成龍’s Chinese Zodiac 十二生肖, which opens 12 Dec, is still on release.

Warriors, which opened in Taiwan in Sep 2011 in two parts, was submitted to the State Administration of Radio, Film & Television (SARFT) 國家廣播電影電視總局 in December in its new international version with additional cuts made for violence. Further cuts were demanded last month.

Inseparable…stars Kevin SPACEY opposite Daniel WU 吳彥祖…

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link:


John Woo’s “Reign of Assassins” (剑雨) – featured reviews, including this blog’s exclusive [Film Business Asia / Sweet & Sour Cinema]

Posted in John Woo 吴宇森, Sweet & Sour Cinema, Sweet & Sour Cinema exclusive flim review on October 7, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

“A tip-top cast, well-crafted script and punchy action capture the classic essence of the swordplay genre…”  Rated 9 out of 10 – Derek Elley, Film Business Asia

UPDATE  10/7/2010:  Found another good review from China Daily, “‘Assassins’ gives martial arts fresh face“; however I find it contains some information that could be considered spoilers and a good deal of writing errors, so I’ll just provide that review’s link and blurb here…

Born a decade after Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,  [swordplay] thriller “Reign of Assassins” – co-directed by John Woo and Su Chao-pin – ushers in a new era of the… genre.

Almost all top Chinese directors joined in the wave of period martial arts dramas after Crouching Tiger won global plaudits, but few of the films reached the level of “Assassins”, which boasts a solid story, an original perspective on martial arts and amazing imagination…  – Liu Wei (China Daily)

UPDATE II – 11/29/2010 I caught the film for a second time before it exited the theatres.   Some more persnickety critics may disagree, but this one is a must-see for martial arts film fans.  The central action sequence which coincides with the film’s major plot twist / revelation is one of the greatest swordplay action sequences of all time, IMHO.


“Reign of Assassins” Sweet & Sour Cinema review

by Zuo Shou 左手

Finally —  for the first time since this blog was established  —  I saw an English-subtitled film in a Chinese cinema, and can do a proper review.  And luckily it was a high-quality action film that I was fully understanding and enjoying!

I was keeping an eye on this film as it was preparing for release.  The fact that is was being promoted as “(Co-)Directed by John Woo” brought high expectations.  However, in the trailers I was not seeing the Woo “trademark” cinematic style.  Furthermore, the lead casting of Michelle Yeoh had me a little underwhelmed; I thought maybe she was getting on a bit in years to anchor an martial arts pic, and other cast members weren’t attracting me much.  After the film was released, it was getting ‘ok’ reviews from the public and what’s more didn’t exactly seem to be attracting the local theatres’ filmgoers in throngs.

I was going to let it go until I saw the strongly positive review (below) in Film Business Asia, and I realized I was possibly overlooking something special.  So I checked the film out, and I was so glad I did.

The FBA review below pretty much says what needs to be said.  An early sequence where the two leads do a slow courtship does take its time to set things up and tested my patience a bit, but when things get cranking, it’s undeniably gripping and exciting, with considerable dramatic heft.  The action ranges from good to excellent, and actually the flow and speed of it is such that it makes multiple viewings desirable in order to savor the densely-packed action scenes.

The mark of John Woo doesn’t seem to be so much in the direction (he is variably credited in different roles on the production, depending on the release location); I think he was producing and probably enhancing the action scenes.  I think his mark can be detected in a kind of broad human touch which grounds the overall drama  — said drama becoming a bit extreme at times,  although enjoyably so, with some astoundingly “out-there” plot points.

I found the film’s audience reaction very interesting, and indicative of the movie’s quality.  As the plot thickenened the audience members reactions and whispers to each other demarked their becoming palpably more entranced and engaged in trying to figure out the puzzles, secrets and mysterious shifting alliances on the screen.

It’s the best swordplay film since “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”.


Film Business Asia review (EXCERPT)

by Derek Elley

3 September  2010

Reign of Assassins (剑雨) – Rated 9 out of 10

Hong Kong/China/Taiwan
Costume martial arts drama
Directed by Su Chao-pin; co-directed by John Woo

A tip-top cast, well-crafted script and punchy action capture the classic essence of the swordplay genre…


It’s been a long time since a movie has captured the essence of the costume martial arts genre as well as Reign of Assassins (剑雨).  Without heavy resort to visual effects, and without going too far down any one stylistic road, the film gives new life to a genre that’s been pulled every which way in the past 20 years in search of new thrills.  The biggest compliment that can be paid to the movie is that it’s just like opening and reading a classic swordplay novel, but also seems absolutely of its era and with its own identity, with no sense of being a retro-flavoured tribute…

FBA review article link here

Trailer Sheds Light on Stellar “Reign of Assassins” / 《剑雨》预告 [CRIEnglish / Sweet and Sour Cinema]

Posted in John Woo 吴宇森, Sweet & Sour Cinema on October 7, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Link to “Reign of Assassins” trailer’s page here

There’s no English subtitles; but there’s almost no dialogue anyway…it’s action and cast introduction – Zuo Shou / 左手

August 12, 2010

Web Editor: Shixisheng

A still of "Reign of Assassins" (Photo:

 John Woo’s upcoming martial-arts drama “Reign of Assassins” (“Jianyu”) has released a new trailer which reveals the film’s star-studded cast, reports.

Lead actors show up one by one in the 75-second trailer which follows the assassination plot targeting a retired murderess.

“Reign of Assassins” is about a retired murderess (Michelle Yeoh) who lives with her husband, an ordinary and optimistic mailman (Jung Woo-Sung) in a small town set in ancient China. The woman owns a treasure that attracts many assassins.

The killers are performed by Wang Xueqi, Kelly Lin, Shawn Yue, Leon Dai and Barbie Hsu.

“The theme of the film is not about assassins and revenge but about love, which is the core message of my films.  People should search for a way to get along with each other instead of hate and grudge,” John Woo was quoted by as saying.

The director also revealed that the key character in the film, the ordinary mailman [courier] played by Jung Woo-Sung, will make the film more mysterious.

The film [premiered] on September 3 at the 67th Venice International Film Festival.  The domestic release is set for September 28.

Movie posters for Chinese coming attractions in September [People’s Daily / Sweet & Sour Cinema]

Posted in Andy Lau 刘德华, China, Donnie Yen 甄子丹, John Woo 吴宇森, Kung Fu, Sweet & Sour Cinema, Tsui Hark 徐克 on August 19, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手


August 11, 2010 

Caption comments by Zuo Shou / 左手 

Poster for Zhang Yimou's "The Love of the Hawthorn Tree".

Poster of "Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen." Chen Zhen is famous as Bruce Lee's character in "Fists of Fury", here represented by Donnie Yen.

Poster of "Reign of Assassins." Co-directed (supposedly) by John Woo and starring Michelle Yeoh.

Poster of "Detective Dee-The Mystery of Phantom Flame." Directed by Tsui Hark, a long-awaited return to form for him?

Full article link here