This colourful Vietnamese action spectacular catches the spirit of the Hong Kong wuxia tradition. Set in an indefinite past, the plot centres on a glamorous band of prostitutes who live together in a remote riverside tavern, robbing and killing the hapless travellers who stop by. When Linh (Tang Thanh Ha), a seemingly innocent noblewoman, becomes their prisoner, they decide to train her as an assassin in a plot for revenge against a local warlord (Le Thai Hoa). Gradually she grows accustomed to her new life, while harbouring a secret of her own.

There are plenty of sword fights and impossible leaps, although the fight scenes are more decorative than intensely physical. The director, Nguyen Quang Dung, incorporates as much slapstick humour as possible, as well as a brief musical number. The camera peers through nets or between bamboo poles, while objects and bodies fly. Linh participates in games of kick volleyball as part of her training, as well as learning an acrobatic new method of scrubbing floors.

Jake Wilson
Sydney Morning Herald