"“If you're a big fan of the wuxia genre, this film should be of great appeal to you – and even if not it remains an accessible introduction...”"

Although immensely popular in certain parts of the world with an impassioned following amongst fans, not to mention having been championed by the likes of Bruce Lee; the martial arts genre is one that has never truly reached out to a broader audience, particularly in the Western world. However, while Chao-Bin Su's Reign of Assassins remains faithful to the wuxia genre, thanks to having John Woo on board as a co-director, it has that accessibility factor, as the man behind Face/Off showcases his ability to appeal to a worldwide market.

Legend has it that if you can get your hands on the mummified remains of a certain ancient Indian Buddhist Monk, then you will be the recipient of magic powers. A group of assassins called Dark Stone – led by Wheel King (Wang Xueqi), manage to get hold of half of the remains, yet much to their despair, Drizzle (Kelly Lin) runs off with the much coveted set of bones. In a bid to regain her former life, and in turn hide from those chasing her whereabouts, she has surgery to change her appearance, assuming the identity of Zeng Jing (changing to Michelle Yeoh in the process). Although living the ordinary life she had always craved– marrying Ah-sheng (Wo-sung Jung) in the process – the former assassin is fully aware of the fact that one day her past may just catch up with her.

Reign of Assassins feels entirely conventional of its genre, with a story surrounding that of old Chinese folk law, with a series of different characters all chasing the one same thing. It looks the part too, as a feature that is extremely vibrant in colour – and such vivaciousness within the scenery, along with the almost cartoon-like sound effects, enhances the surrealism that exists – perfectly coinciding with the mythical ambiance. It needs to feel surreal as you need to make sense of the fact that people have the ability to jump twenty feet in the air from the ground, to land perfectly on a balcony. Also, as so many people are gratuitously killed, the feature requires the somewhat frivolous approach, to detract from the severity of it all.

To assist with the whole mise-en-scene, there is, as expected, a wonderful display of choreography and the martial arts sequences are engrossing. Yeoh stands out as the strongest performer, portraying a character you care for, and wish the very best for. Sadly the same can't be said of the rest of the supporting cast.

If you're a big fan of the wuxia genre, this film should be of great appeal to you – and even if not it remains an accessible introduction, as not only does it stay loyal to tradition, but it's relatively easy to follow. Of course there are plenty of twists and turns along the way, yet the ultimate goal remains the same – despite the fact that towards the latter stages you do begin to question if anyone is actually who they say they are.

It's fair to say that Reign of Assassins doesn't necessarily bring anything terribly new or unique to the genre– unlike Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon managed – but with a host of magic bendy swords and a lot of one liners that sound like they have come straight out of a fortune cookie, where could you possibly go wrong?