The Lady Assassin (1983)

Directed by
Some amazing action scenes
Reviewed by Simon on 2005-07-04

First up, if you don't like spoilers, don't read the title of the film! Whoops, too late :-/ Seriously, until the last 5 minutes you'll be wondering if Celestial put the wrong film on the disc, as it's really about 2 princes scheming and plotting to take over the throne of the land. And some rebels, and some courtiers, and... actually rather a lot of people, but not obviously about any Lady Assassins.

The film is almost epic, and could have made a great austere painterly drama under a different director. Under Tony Liu's hands it staggers wildly between that epic and a completely mad wire-fu extravaganza. The action scenes are some of the most mentally deranged of the era, clearly showing the influence of Ching Siu-Tung's groundbreaking wirework in such as Duel To The Death - most obviously in the ninja'd up finale. Things would have been better still if they'd been a little more subtle with the undercranking, but it's still a blast if you like manic new-wave style action.

Although the film definitely has that slightly cheap vibe Shaw Brothers films were getting by 1983, and lacks any real star power, it's still a pretty entertaining watch with a good story & some pretty special action scenes.