The New Paper
Sep 16, 2015
Everyone loves sexy assassin babes, and this week we get two in our cinemas at the same time.
Shu Qi stars as an old-timey killer in the wuxia flick The Assassin set in 9th century China, which is currently showing.
Gianna Jun plays an elegant murderess in Korean espionage actioner Assassination, which opens here tomorrow and is set during the Japanese Occupation of Korea in the 1930s.
Both women are as deadly as they are lovely. Question is, who's the bigger hit?
Shu Qi plays Nie Yinniang, raised by a nun to be a cold-blooded killer. Unfortunately, she is not cold-blooded at all.
She is sent to assassinate a powerful military leader (Chang Chen), but she digs him and doesn't want to go through with her mission. Or something. It sounds like a straightforward story but under the direction of Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsein, the film is so arty-farty that it is almost impossible to tell what Killer Qi is up to at any given moment.
Gianna Jun is An Ok-yun, a sniper in the Korean Independence Army. She is tasked with taking down two high-ranking Japanese army guys.
It is an opportunity she relishes, as her mum was killed by the Japanese. Jun is a graceful girl with a nice sense of style - wool sweaters, long coats, colourful scarves, high boots. She looks like a million bucks and she is willing to do almost anything for the sake of her mission, including marrying her enemy.
ROUND ONE: KILLER JUN
Killer Jun is charismatic and enigmatic. Killer Shu is boring and inscrutable. No contest.
She may have been trained to be a killing machine, but she seems completely indifferent to her profession.
She is great at sneaking around, running through the trees or along rooftops. She is capable of superhuman leaps. She can fight with a sword or without. Awesome.
Trouble is, I could never discern what her fights were all about. When she does engage in battle, she sometimes just stops and wanders away. It's like, whatever.
She may look like a nice lady but when it comes to dispatching the Japanese occupiers, she is a terrifying demon.
The cool chick shoots with deadly accuracy, with the help of her comically nerdy glasses. If she does happen to miss, she'll go to Plan B: Chasing her prey down in a hail of machinegun fire. She is also the smartest one on her team, coming up with the murder master plans and pretending to be whoever she needs to be at any given moment.
ROUND TWO: KILLER JUN
Smart, skilful, focused and unrelenting, Killer Jun is a sassy assassi-master. Killer Shu is a sensitive assassi-slacker.
Shu, 39, is a Taiwanese superstar and international celebrity. She started off in the 90s making erotic flicks, but these days she is totally legit. She appears in everything from fantasy crowd-pleasers like Journey To The West and actioners (So Close, Seoul Raiders, My Wife Is A Gangster 3) to rom-coms such as the recent All You Need Is Love to more serious stuff like The Assassin. She is really pretty - and pretty awesome.
Outside of her native Korea, 33-year-old Jun is not a household name like Shu. That said, she is huge on her home turf, her biggest hits being the films My Sassy Girl and Windstruck and the blockbuster Korean drama My Love From The Star.
ROUND THREE: KILLER SHU
There is no competing with Shu in this department. She is a talented and prolific actress who rose from soft porn to worldwide fame. Amazing career.
THE WINNER: KILLER JUN
While we love Shu, as every right-thinking person should, The Assassin is a yawn. Jun is a great actress in a great role and deserves the win.
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