Hark Tsui

Blu Ray Competition Jet Li’s Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate

Flying Swords of Dragon Gate PosterWe have 3 Blu-Ray’ss to give away from Jet Li’s 3D extravaganza. We reviewed the movie at the time of it’s release (read it here) but since then it has garnered quite a few positive reviews (reaching up to a respectable 70% on Rotten Tomatoes)

So we have 3 copies of the movie to give away in Blu-Ray and if you have a 3D TV and those nifty glasses then you can watch kicks and swords fly towards your face.

 

 

How to win:

1. Like on Facebook (like US) and following us on Twitter (Follow US) !

2. Drop us a mail on upodcasting@gmail.com

3. Answer the question: My favorite Jet Li movie is… and why?

 

 

Best answers will be announced on the show. Our Twitter feed and FB page on 15 december!

And how knows, we might just do an entire show on the best choice.

Here is a synopsis and trailer to the movie!

Legendary martial arts action star Jet Li (Romeo Must Die, The Expendables 1&2) stars in thriller film FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGONS GATE, the first ever Chinese-lingo and wuxia film to be shot in 3D and shown in the stereoscopic IMAX format.

Released by the award winning independent film company Revolver Entertainment, this epic story, set in the Ming Dynasty, is a rollercoaster ride of 3-D Kung-Fu action sequences, breathtaking scenery and visual mastery. Brought to you by the special effects team that created Avatar, it is no surprise this film has become the fourth highest grossing Chinese language film of all time.

Written and directed by the cutting-edge and internationally acclaimed visionary director, Hark Tsui – who recently became the fourth Chinese film director to join the board of judges for the 57th Cannes Film Festival and famed for his incredible work on Shanghai Blues, Seven Swords and Once Upon a Time in China – this film is a reimagining of an original classic, rather than a re-make.

FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGONS GATE is the first Wuxia Chinese language film to be shot entirely in 3D, a feat that has earned it seven nominations at the Asian Film Awards 2012 since its release in Hong Kong at the end of 2011. The film boasts special effects and action sequences that are set to redefine the standards of the industry.

Set amongst such great Hollywood 3D epics as Avatar, Transformers and Titanic 3D, Flying Swords of Dragon Gate will provide action movie buffs with a visual feast of film-making set to get the adrenaline pumping and the heart racing.

Starring some of Chinese cinema and Hollywood’s leading action and martial arts stars, including, Zhou Xun, Chen Kun, Li Yuchun, Kwai Lun-mei, Louis Fan and Mavis Fan, the film tells the tale of a pregnant palace maid on the verge of execution. Rescued by the owner of Dragon’s Gate Inn, the concubine is lead into a parallel story involving a band of people in search of lost treasure. Seeking refuge from an oncoming storm at Dragon Gate Inn, the plot climaxes to see the two stories converge to create an action-packed quest for treasure amidst a tale of star-crossed love, all enveloped by a time frame that marks the arrival of a catastrophic storm that threatens to destroy everything.

@asimburney

 

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Flying Swords of Dragon Gate Review

After the massive success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon back in 2000 and it’s subsequent Oscar win for best Foreign movie, there has been a steady flow of what I like to call poetic/esoteric martial arts movies, none have them have been as successful as Crouching Tiger or resonated with audiences.

 

Although a huge martial arts fan (Check out the podcast we did about nouveau Martial Arts by clicking here) I prefer contemporary settings combined with less wirework heavy action. While I still like Jet Li, his name doesn’t make me run out to ticket counter anymore especially his best work is behind him, on top of that the name “Flying Swords of Dragon Gate” was just not sitting well with me as every time there is a mention of flying cutlery in Asian movies, I instantly switch off as I have a feeling the story will be too esoteric or set into cultural allegories too hard for non-Chinese audiences to grasps. And I’m not sure Flying Swords of Dragon’s Gate tackle either of those problems well enough.

 

So it was with slight trepidation that I entered the screening of the Flying Swords of Dragon’s Gate even though I still enjoy when a movie is well shot in 3D. Director Hark Tsui is working with a visual team that has some great credentials in terms of 3D work. And even though I’m not as well versed in Hark Tsui’s work, I have enjoyed Time and Tide (which I saw a life time ago) and some of his work with Jean Claude Van Damme, which wasn’t the worst from JCVD (which isn’t saying a lot, especially during that era)

 

Flying House of Dragon Gate (a reimagined sequel of 1992’s Dragon Inn) is the story of how China during the Ming Dynasty was under complete control of two factions of Eunuch bureaucrats; Eastern and Western bureau both seemingly corrupt. Jet Li plays a folk hero, Xhao Gwai On, who has vowed to take end both bureau’s, the movie starts as he just manages to eliminate the head of the Eastern Bureau (special appearance by Gordon Liu) in a sequence that really shows off the best of the 3D work as we see the camera fly through the shipyard and every possible tool found at a harbor flies at the audience, in some might say the most cheesy use of 3D. (Which in my mind is the fun way to do things in 3D)

So up next on his hit list is Yu Hua Tian (played by Kun Chen) head of the Western bureau who is desperately chasing a hand maiden who has been impregnated by the emperor, just as his men are about to kill her, Ling Lanqiu (Zhou Xun) steps in and escorts the hand maiden to the Dragon Gate inn, a sort of Shangri La den where a whole host of gangs end up finding shelter from a storm that comes every 60 years.

 

Since I hadn’t seen the first movie I was lost quite a few times at why this Inn was so important and who some of the key characters relationships where. Since there are plot itself is pretty much impossible to untangle, you end up just focusing on the action and the visuals.

The 3D is quite good especially in the landscape and aerial shots, it really made me want to visit these places if they do exist and aren’t CGI enhanced. The Action isn’t that great, but then again I loose interest when the martial arts is wire based and the characters are just flying everywhere on screen like Peter Pan.

The finale does have a fight in the eye of a Hurricane which has some great moments but that too fizzles out.

Performance wise, Jet Li appears and disappears randomly throughout the movie and usually looks like he has done this movie many many times already and has lost all vigor and passion for them. The standouts were Kun Chen and Zhou Xun, both actors I was seeing for the firs time but will definitely keep an eye out as they had great screen presence and delivered in the action sequences.

Unfortunately the meager positives aren’t enough to hold this movie together as it’s frankly too long. There is an entire plot of double crossing and treasure hunting that might have had more impact if I had seen the previous movie but as a stand alone Flying House of Dragon Gate doesn’t deliver.

 

Recommended only if you absolutely love Wuxia movies or are a massive Jet Li fan.

 

Some More thoughts:

 

  • Gordon Liu Eunuch character talks a lot about pickles.
  • Kun Chun makes a teacup explode by staring at it.
  • They really didn’t put in much effort into getting a Tartar translator
  • The hidden City of Gold has a real From Dusk Till Dawn shot, I was hoping for Vampires

Here is the trailer (which really does showcase  some of the best parts of the movie)

 

Flying House Of Dragon Gate is now available on DVD and Blu Ray.

 

@asimburney

 

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