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"If your big question... is, ‘Will this movie satiate my thirst for martial arts ass kickery?’ I can safely answer, Yes" - Nix, BEYONDHOLLYWOOD.COM
Director: Wu Jing, Nicky Li
Screenplay: Fung Chi-Keung
Cast: Wu Jing, Celinda Jade, Kara Hui, Lam Suet
Producers: Paco Wong Pak Go
It's a story that could have been lifted directly from a golden-era 1980s Hong Kong production: a mysterious stranger arrives on an island off the coast of Hong Kong, a deadly assassin sent to carry out the execution of a dangerous gang leader. He takes his quarry's head as proof he has successfully carried out his mission, but is prevented from making his escape when an incoming typhoon shuts down ferry service. He is left trapped on the island with the remaining gangsters and, even worse, the beautiful woman who offers him shelter from the storm turns out to be a by-the-book cop!
While it could very much have been produced back in the mid-’80s, LEGENDARY ASSASSIN is in fact the new vehicle for kung fu star Wu Jing (SPL, FATAL MOVE) who also makes his directorial debut here, co-directing the film with Nicky Li. Wu is clearly a fan of the classics as it's not just the story but the entire style of the piece that could have been lifted in from another time. The goofy romance, the slapstick comedy, the fusion of natural kung fu and wirework, the goofy little guy-versus-huge guy fight, the wildly over-the-top finale, they're all here.
Fans of Wu Jing have been waiting for the actor to have his big star moment ever since he exploded on to the scene with SPL. LEGENDARY ASSASSIN is probably far too much a throwback film to push Wu out into the mainstream market. But Wu made this film for himself and for others like him, for fans of kung fu who grew up with these films and love all the quirks and foibles of the period when films were turned out fast by performers with little regard for their own safety or internal logic. And for those viewers, and we probably have more than a few of them among the Fantasia faithful, LEGENDARY ASSASSIN is gold, a hugely entertaining throwback to the era that made us fall in love with this stuff in the first place.