Flying Swords of Dragon Gate ★★★½

The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate is said to be a reimaging of Hark Tsui's previously produced 1992 film New Dragon Gate Inn, itself a remake of the 1967 Dragon Gate Inn. I'm a bit confused because it seems to me that this plays out as a sequel as I think they reference events from the end of New Dragon Inn, but I can't be 100% sure. Someone more familiar or a better memory of the 1992 film might be able to clear that up for me.

This is Jet Li's first film in almost 15 years with long time collaborator director Hark Tsui. It's fitting as the film is a throwback to the Wuxia films that made both their careers. While these films haven't exactly gone away, they've more or so been relegated to more dramatic affairs and political dramas. The reason this one felt so fresh is because it doesn't take itself too seriously. I'm a big fan of the more serious films, but it's nice to be reminded that these martial art epics used to be also known to have some comedic elements to them wile some came off more as adventure films rather then political dramas.

While the film is very traditional Wuxia in it's themes, characters and plot, it's also the first Wuxia to be filmed in 3D (to my knowledge) and uses CGI quite heavily. It's old school made with the latest technology. Now this might turn off some "purists" from the film, but it's simply a sign of the times. Wire work was first used in these films simply because it was the only way to make the actors do the impossible, so in this day and age it's simple fact this is how these films are going to be made now so we might as well just role with it as fans.

The story is as complex as some of the best in the genre with multiple twists and surprises, but it's never too complicated too follow. While it doesn't reinvent the wheel in it's filmmaking, it still uses what works and uses it well. So if you weren't a fan of Hark Tsui's films before, this won't be the one that's going to win you over, but as a fan I have to say it was one of the most fun films of the genre I've seen in a while. It also has a cameo from Gordon Liu for good measure.

Mr. DuLac liked this review