(Hong Kong) It’s difficult to classify what type of film Bodyguards and Assassins actually is. It’s based on an historical event (although most details are fabricated) and mixes producer Peter Chan’s (The Warlords) signature tear-jerking style with director Teddy Chan’s (The Accidental Spy) typical fast-paced action scenes. A big budget and a star-studded cast mean this production has its moments, but overall it’s ruined by too many wrong turns.
Category IIB. In an ideal world, this film would spell the end of the big-budget Chinese historical war epic. Armed with an unprecedented US$80 million, John Woo has done the best that can be done for this unwieldy genre. Which is to say, he’s given it a single somewhat passable film, after a long line of lumbering catastrophes that have dragged the genre’s name through the mud like a horse pulling a fallen warrior by the neck.