DVD review: Sword of the Assassin (3 out of 5)

You would think it'd be difficult to create a good martial arts movie these days - the genre seems to have been overloaded in recent years.

Huynh Dong stars in Sword of the Assassin
Huynh Dong stars in Sword of the Assassin

However, quality will always rise to the top.

And this is a well crafted film with stunning scenery and good performances.

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What’s more remarkable is that it arrives via Vietnam, the country’s first foray into this type of movie.

The story follows Nguyen Vu (Huynh Dong), whose family (three generations of them) were executed after being blamed for the emperor’s death.

Brought up by a priest, he is trained in combat and encouraged to hone an inner strength.

However, he decides to try to exonerate the family name and sets off for the capital where he meets two sisters on a similar path.

There are familiar elements, such as the over-acrobatic fight scenes and mystical elements.

But experienced director Victor Vu has a good eye for detail, whether it’s the sweeping landscapes, the leafy glades or the impressive palace - the filming is impressive.

And it’s not a spoiler to say the storyline doesn’t tread the tried and trusted route.

It’s no surprise the film won awards for Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Cinematography and Best Sound at the prestigious Golden Kite Prize of the Vietnam Cinema Association.

And it’s a movie that crosses the boundary into western culture with elegance and ease.

Koch Media presents Sword of the Assassin available to Stream 8th February and Digital HD 15th February.

Pre-order on iTunes: http://bit.ly/SOTAitunes