Six hundred years ago, during the Ming Dynasty, China possessed a secret intelligence agency, The Jinyiwei. Trained in clandestine combat from childhood, the Jinyiwei were masters of the 14 Blades. Above the law and with a license to kill, they devoted their lives and lethal prowess to the service of the Emperor alone. When the Imperial Court is taken over by evil eunuch Jia, the best of the Jinyiwei, Qinglong (Donnie Yen) is assigned to steal a list identifying those still loyal to the Emperor. Unbeknownst to Qinglong, the Jinyiwei have fallen under the control of Jia, and during the mission he's betrayed and barely escapes with his life. Now as the most wanted man in the land Qinglong must seek out and rally the loyalists to rise against Jia and restore the Emperor to power. In his way are the deadliest assassins in the land, his former brethren, the Jinyiwei.