ASIAN FILM - Review
15:00 - 31st January 2016, by David West

The Grandmasters Of Kung Fu

Of the three martial arts movies in this handy bundle, Tsui Hark’s Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate is the weakest. Despite a big budget and 3D special effects, this update of 1992’s New Dragon Gate Inn (itself a remake of King Hu’s Dragon Inn) falls flat. Some of the original story remains – the eunuchs have seized power from the Emperor and conflicting factions meet at the remote Dragon Inn – but it adds a plot about a city of buried treasure. The action scenes are too reliant on special effects and mostly involve Jet Li waving his sword frantically at the camera.

Herman Yau’s The Legend Is Born – Ip Man is another film that mythologises the Wing Chun kung fu master who taught a young Bruce Lee. Dennis To shows charisma in the lead, and Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao (who made the ultimate Wing Chun film, Prodigal Son) have entertaining cameos. The script falls apart with a ridiculous plot twist in the final act, but is fun up to that point.

Peter Chan’s Dragon is easily the pick of the crop. Donnie Yen plays Liu, a humble paper maker who kills two bandits when they try to rob the local store, leading inspector Xu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) to suspect there is more to Liu than meets the eye. With appearances by kung fu legends Jimmy Wang and Kara Hui, plus superb action choreography, this Dragon roars.

Flying Swords is a clunker, but if you haven’t seen Dragon yet, here’s the perfect chance.
SCORE: 4/5
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