Starring: Jet Li,Chen Kun,Zhou Xun
Directed By: Tsui Hark
The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate – DVD 2D release
When Tsui Hark announced he would revisit his earlier 1992 film New Dragon Gate Inn and that it would be a true 3D film I was intrigued by how it would all turn out.
I was even more interested when Jet Li was signed to star in the film after Donnie Yen had turned Tsui Hark down ,stating he did not wish to revisit the story even if it was in 3D.
Now I must admit being a fan of the original Dragon Gate I met the 1992 film with high expectations when it was released and because of this did not enjoy it as much as Tsui Hark's other works in the Wuxia period.
Now Tsui for the new film had secured the a partnership with Chuck Comisky who worked with James Cameron on AVATAR ,taking charge of the 3D effects.
Now here's a question ,could Chuck Comisky and Tsui make a film that could be enjoyed in 3D to great effect and also work well as a 2d release on DVD as AVATAR did?
Now for this particular review I am looking at the DVD 2D release of the film as this is how many will view the film on home media when released .Though I do possess the Asian Bluray 3D version I am unable to review said piece until I sort out a way to view my Region A Bluray ( looks like a new player is on the cards) ,so until that time your have to wait for my 3D review of the film.
Now the film is not a exact replica of the 1992 film and is more a retelling of the story and one which offers some great excuses for some great effects and action.
Jet Li plays one Zhou Huai'an a renegade General who against the dictatorial rule of the current Royalty in power , the film is set three years after the Dragon Inn had been burnt down by it's former owner .
Now the governing bodies in rule are divided by one faction called the West Bureau and the other the East Bureau. With the West bureau led by a group of older more sympathetic rulers and the opposing Bureau led by a Young Powerful eunuch who is hell bent on ruling all.
When the leaders of the West Bureau are accused of treachery by the East Bureau they send a Commander Wan Yulou (Gordon Liu in a small cameo) to take care of matters ,but there plans are foiled by Zhou Hai'an.
When the eunuch Yu HuaTian hears of this he sends out his men to find Zhou.Meanwhile a young concubine has led the Royal City due to being pregnant and ends up being saved by a young warrior who pretends to be Zhou Hia'an.
Truth be told the warrior is a young woman and the former mistress of the Dragon Inn and Zhou 's ex love interest Ling Yanqui
Zhou's plan is to attack the royal party at Dragon Inn when they go there to Capture him (but of course there following Ling Yanqui. Arriving at the Inn they arrive just before the legendary sand storm which comes around once every sixty years.
Also at the Inn are other factions who are there to find a Lost City full of treasure which only arises from the dunes when the sandstorm hits ,plus it only stays visible for a small time period before it's encapsulated by another Sand storm .
Among the adventures at the Inn is one Wind Blade a young man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Yu Huatian.
When Yu Huatian hears of this he plans to use this to his advantage ,but the adventures and Ruffians at the Inn figure that Wind Blade has a edge and he takes on the role of Yu Hautian to control his generals.
There's a lot to take inwith the many factions vying after the treasure ,revenge and freedom from tyrannical rule ,but I suppose the question is does it deliver in the entertainment stakes ?
Tsui Hark has made a film which encapsulates the Wuxia genre as a whole ,with many effects reminiscent of his earlier works like Green Snake and Zu Warriors.But where many of those earlier works effects where done with props ,models and people dressed up in rubber suits ,here the computers have truly taken over and though while impressive to watch some of the effects look like a computer image .
There are some nice stand out fight sequences through out the film which look impressive but there are as many which look like the actors are placed over a image.
It seems to me that because the film was made as a 3D film it's 2D version suffers from not looking as crisp as it should do, but then Jet Li's previous film ''The Sorcerer and the White Snake '' was shot in 3D and looked beautiful in it's 2D image.
Now you could say well AVATAR looked brilliant in 2D as it did in 3D but then Flying swords cost US$34'000'000 while AVATAR cost US$237'000'000 ,a slight difference for sure.
But to be honest I think they just did not focus enough on the 2D version of the film which is slightly ruined because of it's 3D heritage .
That's not to say I did not like the film ,i enjoyed it a lot more then it's predecessor and even with the slight image problem in 2D it's still worth watching . One thing I must iterate is that it may look fine on your 30-40 inch TV ,but I viewed this on a large 80inch screen with a projector ,so it was inevitable that any shortcomings may show up more on a large screen .
Of course to view this film in all it's glory 3D is the way ,but not everyone has access to 3D TV''s ,so many will go the 2D route when they choose to buy the film.
It may not show Jet Li busting out his greatest moves ,but I know that's not why he made the film ,he wanted to put across his Wuxia views in a 3D format offering another vision of his art.
Now here's the hard part ! With the fact that The Sorcerer and the White Snake looked better in 2D then this I have to give this a slightly lower score then that as a 2D film.,and yes I did view both films on a 80inch screen.
Score out of Ten = 6
Review Date : June 2012
Reviewer : The Snake
Look out for my 3D review soon.
|Directed by||Tsui Hark|
|Produced by||Tsui Hark |
|Written by||Tsui Hark|
|Starring||Jet Li |
|Music by||Wu Wai Lap|
|Cinematography||Parkie Chan |
|Editing by||Yau Chi Wai|
|Studio||Film Workshop |
China Film Group Corporation
Shanghai Media Group
Bona International Film Group
|Distributed by||Distribution Workshop|
|Release date(s)|| |
|Running time||125 minutes|
|Country||Hong Kong |
The Sorcerer and the White Snake -2011 - Another 3D epic with Jet Li.
Detective 'D'- 2010 - Tsui Hark directs ,Sammo Action directs and Andy Lau stars.