Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Flying Swords of the Dragon Gate (2011) - a pre-review review


They said that after Tsui Hark and Jet Li fell out after Once Upon a Time In China 3 that the pair would never work together again. However things change and Jet Li agreed to work with Hark again because the film he was making was going to be "the first martial arts film shot in 3D by the people responsible for Avatar" (or something like that).

The film opened in December in China and I've read its doing big business. I've also read that the film is being prepped for a US release some time soon. That last bit put the film high on my must see list with both Hark and Li doing some of their best work recently (Hark with All About Women and Detective Dee; Li with Ocean Heaven and Sorcerer and the White Snake).

Not being one to wait for something potentially amazing, I picked up an unsubtitled DVD in Chinatown over the weekend. Needing a pick me up Sunday afternoon, I popped the DVD in the machine and I gave it ago.

Wow and wow.

When this film comes to a theater near you, run to see it. Based on what I saw on the DVD this is going to look fantastic in 3D and it's possibly going to be one of the few 3D films worth seeing that way.The action sequences in this film are amazing. I was floored. Its a return to old school wu xia films but done on a modern scale and enhanced with computers. Normally I hate that sort of thing but here it seems to work.

Simply put Tsui Hark is working the magic he did in films like the Zu Warriors of the Magic Mountain and The Blade.

Jet Li is Jet Li. He's kicking butts and taking names. If there is anything wrong with him in the film, its the sections where he's not in the film.

The film is a remake of sorts of Dragon Inn (1967) which was remade in 1992 by Hark and which starred Donnie Yen who was first offered the role played by Jet Li. Yen turned it down because he won't remake his old films, and I think the film works better for it. The plot has to do with a power hungry eunuch's grab for all of China and the people who try and stop him. I can't give you the details here just know that the film has lots of fantastic action sequences.

I have to fess up here, I got to s certain point in the film and I simply started scanning mywy through the film. I did this not because it was bad, rather since I couldn't understand what was being said I simply wanted to get to the next action sequence to see how it was going to look when I saw it on the big screen in 3D...the answer was AWESOME.

Having seen the film, more or less, all I can say is that I can't wait to see this film on the big screen. This is the sort of thing that 3D was made for...

Put this film on your list action fans because I'm guessing this is going to blow all our minds.


  1. I can't wait for this beast to be unleashed at the theaters! From Tsui Hark's Q&A at NYAFF, he kept on suggesting that the 3D realm will add a another layer of kickass goodness.
    Does the DVD have a mandarin or canto track or both?
    We all have to converge on this film.

  2. I DEFINITELY Have to See This!!!