Flying Swords of Dragon Gate is a half-remake/half-sequel to New Dragon Inn, which was much the same to another similarly titled movie. The premise of all three movies boils down to the same basic principle: heroic rebels against evil martial-arts wielding eunuchs end up at the Dragon Inn which is run by unscrupulous rogues. The three groups bounce off against each other before things revolve themselves in an entertaining fashion.
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate is a big-budget CGI version of these films, involving much higher stakes and grander sets than the first two. In this version, a pregnant maid in the Imperial Palace is being hunted by the secret service of the palace due to the small chance she might be carrying the Emperor's child.
|I really liked the villain in this one. Just the right mixture of badass and smug jackass.|
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate is a fun rip-roaring adventure that has a surprising number of twists and an excellent balance of action sequences with the comedy. Some of the CGI effects are a bit obvious, especially the scenes which were supposed to be filmed in 3D. Still, overall, they're very impressive and mixed with positively gorgeous sets.
Having seen New Dragon Inn, I must say that everyone does an excellent job but it doesn't have quite the same punch. I may be biased in this assessment, however, due to my inexhaustible love of Maggie Cheung. It's a pity Donnie Yen couldn't have been a part of this as well, given his villainous turn in New Dragon Inn was quite impressive.
|Lots of amazing stunts.|
The first half of the movie is the most enjoyable and could have really sustained the entire film without the addition of the needless treasure hunt plot. There's also a rather forgettable "identical strangers" subplot which had some funny moments but ultimately lead nowhere. I won't get into a late-movie twist which, while shocking, really makes no sense. Otherwise, the film is grandiose and enjoyable. My favorite of the fights are the film's openings sword fight involving flying logs and a multi-person wuxia duel on a Chinese junk.
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate is a great buy for any fan of wuxia films or martial arts epics in general. It's not the best example of its genre but it's a piece both Westerners and Easterners can enjoy. It's not a perfect movie but well worth the price of a DVD. Really, my only complaint about the film is the DVD doesn't allow me to skip past its mammoth number of previews every time I want to watch the film.