This marks (Jacky) Wu Jing's directorial debut, where he plays hired killer Bo Tong Lam, stranded on an island near Hong Kong, immediately after the fresh kill of a triad boss. He seems content minding his own business, waiting for the storm to pass, when he prevents an accident involving an attractive female officer (the captivating Celina Jade, soon to appear in the RZA's "Man With the Iron Fists"). They are having a nice lunch (presumably @ Long John Silvers) when she gets a radio call about 3 suspects, matching the description of some fellow diners. The apprehension attempt does not go well (these dudes are huge) and Bo reluctantly helps her, garnering more unwanted attention from the police who welcome him at the station as a hero. Will he make it off the island before the cops discover his identity and/or the triads find him?
Well, I was one of the few who liked the teaming of Wu Jing with choreographer Nicky Li in "Fatal Contact" (2006). Hey, I like good fights, and in my opinion, "FC" has some of the best, in exactly the manner I like 'em: fast, precise, fluid, and brutal, with long takes and few wires. Unfortunately "FC" also has a boring plot with (mostly) unlikable characters. "Legendary Assassin" is a (slight) improvement in the plot and character department (except for the insufferable Sammy Leung) but the fights are definitely a step in the WRONG direction. Are they awful? No, but they're extremely disappointing when considering the main duo involved. I always complain about wires but I actually don't mind them when they're not blatantly obvious. They should aid fight scenes, not star in them! The wire-work here is better than most, but that ain't sayin' much. Acting's about the same, which is not great but functional, though it should be noted that my cinematic passion lies in action films, where thespian chops are typically neglected or ignored completely. Wu Jing is an improving actor and AMAZING athlete who even shows potential as a director but needs better roles if he wants to be an international star.
Anyway, I debated about the rating. It's probably more like a 3.5 out of 5, but I asked myself a couple of difficult questions: Did I like it? Will I watch it multiple times? Yep and most likely. The DVD from Lionsgate certainly doesn't hurt with an excellent widescreen picture and a handful of standard special features. In Cantonese or English with optional subtitles available in English or Spanish. The biggest surprise of this flick is the "Seasonal Films" logo, present at the beginning of the movie! I thought they went under? With half their library remaining unreleased on DVD, a comeback would certainly be encouraged by me!
2008. aka: Wolf Fang