Notable Cast: Jet Li, Zhou Xun, Kun Chen
It would seem that Tsui Hark wasn't quite done with the "Dragon Gate" story in his produced remake from 1992, "New Dragon Gate Inn." So he decided to make a second remake (!) and one where he would also serve as a director rather than just a producer and writer like the last one. Honestly I've never seen either of the original films ("Dragon Gate Inn" from 1966 and the above mentioned 90s remake) so comparisons to those will not be a prevalent feature of this review, but I can say that I felt that "Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate" was a pretty big missed opportunity. The film feels oddly unfocused with far too many characters and random plot twists. Despite some fun high flying wire fights, Hark also tends to rely on CGI far too much. It just creates a rather awkward martial arts film that might please on a surface level, but rarely hits the dramatic tones it desperately strives for.
As China remains in a state of split attitudes, the Emperors eunuchs have gained too much power and influence and police the nation with vicious ways. This leads a group of rogue assassins under the guidance of Zhou (Jet Li) to start taking matters into their own hands. When the West Bureau head Yu Huatian (Chen Kun) gets caught in the path of Zhou while hunting down a pregnant concubine who holds one of the Emperor's children, the two will gather their own powerful allies for a massive showdown at the legendary Dragon Gate Inn...
|"Look ahead! It's CGI!"
|"I said hi five! Not high kick!"
"Flying Swords" can be fun with some of its smaller supporting cast and there is plenty of great fighting to be had, but the film itself struggles to find a footing to root itself in to deliver the epic picture it could have been. As a long time Hark and Li fan, the duo has a miss on there hand with "Flying Swords." It's a fun and entertaining martial arts film, but it rarely rises above that.
Written By Matt Reifschneider