Spanning decades and hundreds of characters, the Three Kingdoms era is rich with great tales that have enthralled us for centuries. Cao Cao, one of the era's most controversial and morally ambiguous characters, gets the spotlight in The Assassins
, the directorial debut of advertising director Zhao Lin Shan. The period drama takes place in a later phase of the infamous chancellor's life, now a feared ruler facing enemies from all sides. Zhao's gripping vision for the well-known tale is brought to life by Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Zhao Xiao Ding, who has worked as Zhang Yimou's cinematographer since House of Flying Daggers
In addition to Hong Kong cinema legend Chow Yun Fat starring as the commanding leader, The Assassins features a star-studded cast that includes Crystal Liu (The Four), Tamaki Hiroshi (Nodame Cantabile), Alec Su (The Message), Ni Dahong (A Simple Noodle Story and Annie Yi (My Kingdom).
During the Eastern Han Dynasty, Chancellor Cao Cao (Chow Yun Fat) has become the de facto ruler of the nation under puppet emperor Xian (Alec Su). After the death of Guan Yu, Cao Cao appears in court, presenting a perfect opportunity for an assassination attempt. However, the attempt fails despite the many parties looking to take Cao's life, from Xian's wife Fu Shou (Annie Yi) to Lingju (Crystal Liu), an assassin posing as Cao's concubine. After eliminating the obvious suspects, Cao Cao plans to turn the tables on the assassins, even as Lingju begins to develop feelings for Cao Cao.