A pop-our fight flick worth investing in a 3D TV for
First published on 10 Apr 2012. Updated on 23 May 2012.
Packing in nearly every genre imaginable with hyper-dramatic fight scenes, stuff flying all over the place (see title) and a martial arts duel in a tornado – a tornado! – Flying Swords of Dragon Gate is a little like the movie version of a spoilt brat. It has everything, and it’s gonna do whatever it wants with it. So in 3D, well, it’s genius.
Directed by Hark Tsui, the man behind the Once Upon a Time in China series and this film’s predecessor Dragon Inn, the film stays true to the Chinese martial arts genre known as wuxia, following vigilante hero Zhao, played by Jet Li, as he goes about his business of killing corrupt court officials. There’s also a pregnant courtesan on the run, a lone female warrior masquerading as Zhao, a desolate inn about to be buried in a freak desert storm and hidden treasure.
With so many complex, disjointed and epic scenes, it all feels like mash-up of Indiana Jones, Twister and Pirates of the Caribbean – with steroids and wire work. But it skates by because it's such an entertaining watch, and far more tongue-in-cheek than other popular martial arts films such as Hero or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
What Flying Swords lacks in credibility, depth of character and decent CGI, it makes up for it on a Biblical scale in fun. Plus there are a surprising number of romantic sub plots and inventively gory deaths (my favourite being those who fall victim to the finely spun gold thread, strong enough to slice through bone). Moments like that cut through and make this action-adventure well worth swapping an evening of drab TV for.
Flying swords of Dragon Gate 3D is available to rent or buy on Blu-ray or DVD from May 25.
Know your Wuxia Check out these wuxia movie staples