Reelz Recommends: A Compelling Foreign Historical Epic Now Streaming on Netflix
03.13.13 by BJSprecher
Journey back in time, to the tumultuous Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history, and witness as a paranoid ruler spends years concocting a plot to assassinate a powerful rival.
The Flick: The Assassins (Tóng Què Tái)
The Skinny: Linshan Zhao makes his feature directorial debut with this 2012 Chinese historical epic. The plot of the movie is loosely based on portions of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, one of the great classical novels of Chinese literature, and focuses on the final years of the legendary warrior and strategist Cao Cao. The Assassins is the first part of a planned trilogy of Three Kingdoms-inspired movies.
The Players: Chow Yun-Fat (The Killer, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) stars as Cao Cao, Prime Minister of the Han Dynasty. In the year 198, Cao defeats several powerful warlords, including China's greatest warrior, Lü Bu, gaining supremacy in northern China. Years later, after being crowned King of Wei by Emperor Xian (Alex Su), Cao builds the Bronze Sparrow Platform in his own honor, a magnificant terrace populated by beautiful women who sing and dance for him. Little does Cao know, however, that his enemies have created a camp designed solely for the purpose of training orphaned children to kill him. To prevent an ancient prophecy from being fulfilled, Cao's enemies unleash Mu Shun (Hiroshi Tamaki) and Ling Ju (Crystal Liu Yi Fei), a pair of young lovers who spent the last five years of their lives in a hidden tomb learning the ways of assassination.