When the subject of Asian cinema arises, your thoughts will likely be drawn to the powerhouses of Japan, China, South Korea and Hong Kong. Maybe, even Thailand or Taiwan, but Vietnam is not a country with a rich history in terms of cinematic output. However, whilst most Vietnamese films do not get a release in the West, it’s a country which is slowly but surely gaining a worldwide reputation for its film-making. Victor Vu’s Sword of the Assassin is a good example of this; a superior marital arts film which is both beautifully made and contains great swordplay.
A young child is the sole survivor when his family is sentenced to death by the traitorous Thai Hau (Van Trang). After being raised and trained in Wuxia by a monk, Nguyen Vu (Huynh Dong) learns of his history and vows to seek justice. He encounters Hoa Xuan (Mi Du) and Hoa Ha (Kim Hein) who are also looking to avenge the death of their relatives. Nguyen Vu is sheltered and supported by the sympathetic Vuong Gia (Van Anh) but must retrieve the ‘blood letter’ in order to overthrow Thai Hau.
Sword of the Assassin is a beautifully shot and well acted historical epic. The backdrops are sumptuous and the fight scenes are brilliantly choreographed by Johnny Tri Nguyen. As far as the story goes it does lack somewhat in terms of originality. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing in this kind of action film. Sword of the Assassin is great entertainment and a superior film for fans of the genre.
Sword of the Assassin is released by Koch Media and available to stream on 8 February and digital HD on 15 February.