Bodyguards and Assassins (2009) Film Review

Director: Teddy Chen
Hong Kong, 2009

Bodyguards and Assassins is a long film. Too long. It’s about 45 minutes too long. It’s also overwrought. There’s a lot of grown men crying about pride and integrity. Things that matter to a lot of people, but not stuff we as the audience particularly care about. In the beginning there are a lot of assassins, not many bodyguards. Lots of people die. Then, there are a lot of bodyguards and not a lot of assassins. Lots of people cry. Eventually the bodyguards and the assassins all appear on the same set. You get 50 minutes of pretty awesome action.

Do you want to see a dude* stop a horse with his head? It’s in the film. Do you want to see a large man named Stinky Tofu kill like 30,000 people? Bodyguards and Assassins got your back. Do you want to see a beggar inexplicably murder like 40 people with a steel fan? Hey I know the name of a movie you should check out. Do you want to see people yelling “Go!” and “Run!” a lot? No? We’ll that’s too bad.

The story is kind of sad if you know anything about Chinese history. Not that the film really cares about history, but you know that everything put out by Hong Kong now a days has to have a “Based on a true story” subtitle to sell. Just remember, no one’s really dead unless they get a little subtitle obituary. Lots of people get subtitle obituaries in this movie. If Bodyguards and Assassins were a TV miniseries, it’d have like 4 episodes. You should only see the last episode.

*Donnie Yen is still awesome.

Bodyguards and Assassins was screened at the 2010 Seattle International Film Festival.

Written by
Allen Huang

Allen is a writer/organizer/manager based in Taipei, Taiwan. You can read his work on Redefine and Asian Junkie. You can follow him on twitter at @therealhojo.

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