Sha Ren Zhe Tang Zhan
1993 / 83m -
The Assassin poster


February 15, 2023


A bit surprised to find there are still '93 Hong Kong action/martial arts films I haven't seen yet, certainly ones by directors with sizeable commercial appeal. Not that The Assassin is a hidden gem, it's clear why this film didn't make as big of a splash as some of the more prominent examples, but it was good fun regardless.

Tangzhan is a simple farmer, who is taken by an evil warlord and re-schooled to become his top assassin. Tangzhan fairs well in his new job and he takes on an apprentice of his own. On one of his missions, Tangzhan bumps into his old love, an encounter that triggers some painful memories. He defects, leaving his apprentice as the one sent out to kill him.

The plot is basic, the film lacks big names and the action is by the numbers. Back then the Hong Kong film industry was such a well-oiled machine though, that even simple genre filler like this was done pretty competently, without even having to make a real effort. The Assassin is a film in line with Chung's other work. Not particularly notable, but solid entertainment nonetheless.