Hong Kong directors Peter Chan and Teddy Chan’s period action drama “Bodyguards and Assasins” (known as “The October Siege” in Asia) with an all-star cast has garnered more than 270 million RMB since release, making it one of the New Year’s most popular movies. The cast includes mega stars, Donnie Yen, Nicholas Tse, Leon Lai, Hu Jun, and etc.
The film takes place in October of 1905 in Victoria City, which is today’s Hong Kong, and tells the story of half a dozen anonymous heroes’ courageous attempt to protect the then revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen from the Qing and British government. These heroes are all ordinary people: a street vendor, a beggar, a rickshaw driver, a Chinese opera singer, and a gambling addict. Viewer discretion is strongly advised as the film has a heavy dose of violence and blood gore.
The film’s popularity is not only shown in the box office but also in the siege culture it has brought on in China. Online forums are populated with various adaptations of dialogue from the film. The term “siege” or “fortress” has a cultural conotation in China in that people want to get to the inside of a fortress when they are outside but once they are inside they want out again. This mentality is especially felt by many young people in China nowadays, in regards to today’s middle-class life.
One interesting trivia: The make-up team behind “The Pirates of the Caribeean” trilogy was invited to work with actor, Zhang Hanyu, who plays Sun Yat-sen in the film.