The typical martial arts movie suffers greatly from shallow characterisations, black-and-white morality, and exaggerated acting. Fortunately this is not the case for Reign of Assassins, though the quantity of action does suffer a bit.
The fight scenes were strong (I particularly liked the flaming swords), but the standout for me were the characters’ motivations: each of them is surprisingly well-shaded, in particular the villain: The Wheel King. Why he pursues what he does, and the inadequacies he perceives in himself were fresh and engaging; I also liked the Magician who isn’t the stereotypical henchman. Even the psycho-woman had some good scenes with the Wheel King. I do wish the story around the husband and also the monk had been just that much more fleshed out, however.
The plot with double-crosses and trickery kept my interest, and I really liked the nature of the MacGuffin.