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The Assassin (2015) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Blu-ray Region A

Shu Qi (Actor) | Hou Hsiao Hsien (Director) | Chang Chen (Actor) | Tsumabuki Satoshi (Actor)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 2 - 2 out of 10 (2)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Hou Hsiao Hsien's done it again. The much-revered director returns with another breathtakingly beautiful effort in The Assassin, loosely based on a short story by ninth century writer Pei Xing. Starring Shu Qi (Journey To The West: Conquering the Demons) as the titular assassin and Chang Chen (Helios), Tsumabuki Satoshi (Our Family), Zhou Yun (Bodyguards And Assassins) and Ethan Ruan (Paradise In Service) in supporting roles, the Tang Dynasty-set drama picked up the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as Best Director, Best Feature Film, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup & Costume Design and Best Sound Effects at the Golden Horse Awards.

Having undergone rigorous training with her master since the age of 10, Nie Yinniang (Shu Qi) is now a top assassin, tasked with eliminating corrupt government officials. When she fails to carry out a mission, Yinniang is sent back to her hometown by her master. There, she must find and kill the most powerful official in the region, Tian Jian (Chang Chen), who happens to be both Yinniang's cousin and her first love.

This edition includes behind-the-scenes featurettes.

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Technical Information

Product Title: The Assassin (2015) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) 刺客聶隱娘 (2015) (Blu-ray) (香港版) 刺客聂隐娘 (2015) (Blu-ray) (香港版) 刺客聶隱娘 (2015) (Blu-ray) (香港版) The Assassin (2015) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
Also known as: Nie Yinniang Nie Yinniang Nie Yinniang Nie Yinniang Nie Yinniang
Artist Name(s): Shu Qi (Actor) | Chang Chen (Actor) | Tsumabuki Satoshi (Actor) | Zhou Yun (Actor) | Xu Fang Yi (Actor) | Ethan Juan (Actor) | Ni Da Hong (Actor) | Nikki Hsieh (Actor) | Lee Ping Bin 舒 淇 (Actor) | 張震 (Actor) | 妻夫木聰 (Actor) | 周韻 (Actor) | 許芳宜 (Actor) | 阮經天 (Actor) | 倪 大紅 (Actor) | 謝 欣穎 (Actor) | 李屏賓 舒 淇 (Actor) | 张震 (Actor) | 妻夫木聪 (Actor) | 周韵 (Actor) | 许芳宜 (Actor) | 阮经天 (Actor) | 倪 大红 (Actor) | 谢 欣颖 (Actor) | 李屏宾 舒淇(スー・チー) (Actor) | 張震(チャン・チェン) (Actor) | 妻夫木聡 (Actor) | Zhou Yun (Actor) | Xu Fang Yi (Actor) | 阮經天(イーサン・ルアン) (Actor) | 倪大紅(ニー・ダーホン) (Actor) | 謝欣穎(ニッキー・シエ) (Actor) | 李屏賓(リー・ピンビン) 서기 (Actor) | 장첸 (Actor) | Tsumabuki Satoshi (Actor) | Zhou Yun (Actor) | Xu Fang Yi (Actor) | Ethan Juan (Actor) | Ni Da Hong (Actor) | Nikki Hsieh (Actor) | Lee Ping Bin
Director: Hou Hsiao Hsien 侯 孝賢 侯孝贤 侯孝賢 (ホウ・シャオシェン) Hou Hsiao Hsien
Producer: Liao Qing Song 廖慶松 廖庆松 Liao Qing Song Liao Qing Song
Blu-ray Region Code: A - Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) What is it?
Release Date: 2015-12-18
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: Taiwan, China
Picture Format: [HD] High Definition What is it?
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
Sound Information: Dolby Digital EX(TM) / THX Surround EX(TM)
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Screen Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080 progressive scan)
Duration: 106 (mins)
Publisher: Panorama (HK)
Package Weight: 100 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1047541040

Product Information

9th century China. 10-year-old general’s daughter Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who initiates her into the martial arts, transforming her into an exceptional assassin charged with eliminating cruel and corrupt local governors. One day, having failed in a task, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised – a cousin who now leads the largest military region in North China.

After 13 years of exile, the young woman must confront her parents, her memories and her long-repressed feelings. A slave to the orders of her mistress, Nie Yinniang must choose: sacrifice the man she loves or break forever with the sacred way of the righteous assassins.
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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This film has won 9 award(s) and received 2 award nomination(s). All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "The Assassin (2015) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)"

December 29, 2015

The Assassin may kill your expectations – not that there's anything wrong with that. Hou Hsiao-Hsien's long-awaited wuxia is an accomplished and laudable work, and seems poised to earn plenty of admirers among film intelligentsia over the long term. In the short term the film will disappoint some audiences; The Assassin is likely a mismatch for the martial arts crowd as its aesthetic is antithetical to what commercial audiences expect from a film with this iconography. Swords, assassins, costumes, palace intrigue, people who can jump pretty high – to many average filmgoers that stuff means elaborately-choreographed martial arts if not balls-to-the-wall action craziness. Just by what The Assassin is about, people expect certain things from it and they will not get those things. What they will get is a pure martial arts fiction adaptation that rewards the more one chooses to engage with its deliberately unfiltered narrative and style. Time to choose your side, people.

Based on a classic novella by Pei Xing, The Assassin tells the tale of Nie Yinniang (Shu Qi), a black-clad assassin who dispatches corrupt officials at the behest of Taoist nun Jiaxin (Sheu Fang-Yi). In the prologue, Yinniang decides not to kill one of her targets because he has a son – yes, just like the opening of The Bourne Identity. Noting this, Jiaxin next asks Yinniang to kill her own cousin, regional governor Tian Ji'an (Chang Chen), who was once promised to be Yinniang's husband. The marriage was arranged during childhood, but Yinniang was soon shuttled off to Jiaxin's care thus breaking the engagement. While Yinniang stalks Tian Ji'an prior to the kill, she discovers plenty of Dallas going on in this palace. An escort mission puts Yinniang's father, General Nie Feng (Ni Dahong), in danger, while Tian Ji'an's favored concubine Huji (Nikki Hsieh) is rumored to be pregnant. The latter news does not sit well with Tian Ji'an's wife, Lady Tian (Zhou Yun). Naturally.

Yinniang's role is to be an assassin, but due to all the political intrigue, she ends up playing protector more than is expected – a major thematic point of The Assassin, though the script doesn't offer dialogue to support it. Instead of being conveyed verbally or in an overt fashion, Yinniang's decisions occur silently and internally. She observes before striking or not striking, and the audience is forced to also observe and contemplate thanks to Hou Hsiao-Hsien's trademark storytelling – which is known for the almost complete absence of what many modern film audiences might term "style". Hou employs long takes, elliptical storytelling and natural camera movement that's not kinetic or manipulative to cast the audience as observers. The characters may be engaged in dire events but they also simply exist, so we observe their minute behaviors as they walk to and from destinations, or as they simply stand still according to the demands of their assignment or role. It's not a very exciting way to mount a wuxia but it's undoubtedly consistent and thoughtful.

The Assassin presents what might be termed a "real" martial arts world, in that it combines people who can "fly" (Yinniang's leaps are beyond human ability) with natural settings free from artifice. What the film does not do, however, is attempt to deconstruct the wuxia genre. Unlike The Sword Identity, which presented a realistic martial arts world in setting while dryly poking fun at the genre's absurdities, The Assassin is content to simply present characters and situations in a realistic manner without calling attention to itself. The film doesn't acknowledge the wuxia genre; it doesn't point out its conventions nor trump up its recognizable themes and iconography. What differentiates Hou's work is how the film moves, in a manner that reflects life's slow, silent passage. The choreography is intricate – not the fighting, which is actually fairly brief and unexciting, but how the characters and camera simply move through space. The story unfolds by following their movements and rhythms, rather than springing from stage directions or dialogue.

The grace and economy of The Assassin possess an artistry that, to be fair, could be called boring. The lack of overt tension and attention-getting style means a tough slog for those who expect film to tell them what to think and feel. The non-widescreen frame could present an issue for some; The Assassin is framed largely at 1:33 to 1, meaning none of those wide vistas that you might expect from an epic film. However, the tighter focus keeps matters intimate, and turns some sequences, like the moments peeping at Tian Ji'an and Huji through obscuring curtains, into voyeurism. Again, this is not for audiences who expect tracking shots and montage – if it hasn't been said plainly enough, I should reiterate: This movie is not for the action film crowd. Instead, this is a wuxia story in the purest sense, in that it draws from written fiction while ignoring the countless films that came before it. If anything, The Assassin should be described as pre-modernist.

The Assassin ends quietly, with a denouement that's as predictable as it is appropriate. The film starts with a trope and ends with one, and while the full narrative arc seems familiar, Hou Hsiao-Hsien elevates the experience, negating clichés by refusing to play up their conventional meaning. Like the content, the actors have no pretensions, except perhaps Chang Chen, whose glowering Tian Ji'an stands out almost like a sore thumb. Shu Qi is silent and impassive, but hewing to the actress' strengths, Yinniang consistently shows active inner thought and emotion. Like the storytelling and the beautiful photography, more can be gleamed from Shu Qi's performance upon repeat viewing. Hou Hsiao-Hsien presents a complete and rich martial arts world with beauty to be found in every frame, every scene and every motion – and it takes an active audience to discover it. In a post Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero world, The Assassin may not be as exciting as expected, but its pure intent and unfettered storytelling will likely make it timeless.

by Kozo -

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Customer Review of "The Assassin (2015) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 2 - 2 out of 10 (2)

See all my reviews

April 10, 2016

This customer review refers to The Assassin (2015) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Pure art-house Customer Review Rated Bad 2 - 2 out of 10
A wuxia movie for hipsters. So self-indulgent it should have 'art-house' in the title, this movie crawls along, staring disdainfully at the glaciers that overtake it. It's really quite slow and sparse for art-house, to be honest.

Film critics have their own standards, but the list of awards this movie has won is quite shocking and betrays the sad divide in modern cinema that dislikes allowing commercial movies to have any form of depth, and all but bans narrative, action, emotion and empathy from any movie that wishes to obtain critical acclaim.

Aside from half a dozen scenes, if you really want to say you watched it to the end, I'd keep your finger over the fast forward button, as most of this movie can be viewed at 2x and still seem extraordinarily slow and empty.

Unless you are a die-hard art-house fanatic, I'd suggest avoiding this one. The Chinese scenery is beautiful but doesn't merit 106 minutes of your life. If you do love art-house, this is for you, as it has barely any narrative, a few action sequences to qualify as 'martial arts', and makes little attempt to connect audience with characters emotionally or empathically. If that appeals to you, this may be one of the purest examples of the genre. I doubt the dialogue filled two sides of A4.

In summary: It's hard-core art-house, and your choice as to whether to see it should be made on that basis alone.
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Daniel Chun
See all my reviews

January 29, 2016

This customer review refers to The Assassin (2015) (DVD) (2-Disc Limited Edition) (Taiwan Version)
2 people found this review helpful

Great film - terrible packaging Customer Review Rated Bad 2 - 2 out of 10
My two star review is not focused on the feature film which is English subtitled in this version. My review is for the Taiwan special edition packaging that has three negative features. First it is significantly oversized and will not store in typical compact disc storage most film buffs use. Second the two discs are overlapped. Third and absolutely terrible are the black rubber hubs holding the two discs. I had to press the hubs down hard because I feared cracking the discs when removing. Now the hubs will not hold the discs tight so I have to replace with standard case. I have never come across hubs like these. Extra features are not subbed except in non-removable Chinese. For a beautiful feature film like this one the behind-the-scenes is one of the dullest films packaged as an extra. I was hoping for some more bonus features like the Cannes photo call or red carpet. Or a special on the filming locations.
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