Reign of Assassins (Blu-ray) (2010)

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Released 22-Jun-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Martial Arts Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 119:49
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Chao-Bin Su

Madman Entertainment
Starring Chao-Bin Su
Michelle Yeoh
Woo-sung Jung
Kelly Lin
Shawn Yue
Xueqi Wang
Barbie Hsu
Yiyan Jiang
Pace Wu
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Anthony Chue
Peter Kam

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Mandarin Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     The case of this movie tells us that this film is "From John Woo - Director of Red Cliff and the Star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". The second one is certainly true as Michelle Yeoh plays the main character in this film, assassin Drizzle. However, John Woo is credited as Co-Director and seems to have been an onset adviser to the actual Director and Writer of this film Chao-Bin Su. This does not mean that this is bad film at all, just that this advertising leads you to believe it is a film directed by John Woo. It was nominated for many Hong Kong and Asian film awards and is certainly worth watching.

     The story is quite an interesting one, involving a group of assassins called Dark Stone, led by a man with a strange voice known as The Wheel King. The group includes a number of assassins and an impressive young woman, Drizzle (Kelly Lin), who decides to steal part of the remains of a monk which is reputed to give eternal life and fix illnesses, if recombined. Drizzle's name stems from her impressive sword fighting style. She takes off with part of the remains and travels to another part of China after undergoing surgery to change her face (now played by Michelle Yeoh). She rents a house and sets up a business selling cloth. Soon she starts a romance with a local messenger, Jing A-Sheng (Woo-sung Jung) but her old gang is hot in pursuit as they want the remains back. Will she be able to find happiness or will her past catch up with her?

     Unfortunately, despite the interesting nature of the story, it is told in a fairly confusing way with more exposition required, certainly for western audiences. Having said that, there is a lot to like about this film with quality acting, impressive fight scenes and some interesting surprises as the film progresses. Yeoh is impressive as the lead character and it is certainly interesting to see a film of this style with a female lead character.

     Well worth a look for fans of the Asian martial arts action epic genre.

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Transfer Quality


     The video quality is excellent. The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080/24p coded using the AVC codec.

     The picture was extremely clear and sharp throughout. The shadow detail was excellent. The colour is excellent, with no issues to report. There was one very minor spot of compression artefact at 69:15 but this is being very picky.

     There are subtitles in English.

     There is no obvious layer change during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio quality is very good but not quite as good as the best of Blu-ray. This disc contains Mandarin Dolby Digital TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack and a Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The TrueHD is obviously the pick of the two.

     Dialogue was clear and easy to hear although my Mandarin is not the best. The award nominated score is quite good, suiting the style and setting of the film well. The surround speakers were used a lot during action sequences but generally the film did not have the surround ambience of some other Blu-rays. The subwoofer was used for action scenes and music support.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



     The menu is designed to reflect the opening Chinese drawing style of the film.

Making Of (23:26)

     There seems to be a bit of a glitch here with the English subtitles for this featurette seeming to be the subtitles for the opening 23 minutes of the film rather than ones which actually apply to what is being said here. Accordingly, this making of is nearly useless for English speaking audiences, although it looks quite interesting. I checked this glitch on two different Blu-ray players.

Theatrical Trailer (1:02)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is Region A locked Hong Kong edition of this film on Blu-ray with very similar features except that it has both Mandarin & Cantonese soundtracks. The local edition is fine except for the subtitle glitch on the extras.


     An interesting but slightly confusing Chinese action epic with impressive swordplay.

     The video quality is excellent. The audio quality is very good. The extras are limited and the main one has a glitch with the English subtitles.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, August 29, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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