Writer|Director: King Hu
Chun Shih, Lingfeng Shangguan, Chien Tsao, Feng Hsu
111min | Wuxia Adventure | Taiwan
This cult classic action masterpiece, that finally comes to dual format blu-ray this Autumn, is the dazzling daddy of all the martial arts adventures combining as it does some magnificent set pieces and some of the most startling and gracefully performed action sequences ever committed to film, embodying the exotic essence of Taiwanese Wuxia and establishing the genre’s archetypes such as the Eunuch and The Swordswoman.
Director King Hu, was born in Beijing but left China for Hong King in 1949 where started his film career during the fifties, first as an actor and then as a writer and director. In 1967 he started his own studio in Taiwan where DRAGON INN was film and later selected, along with A Touch of Zen, as one of the 10 Best Chinese Motion Pictures of all time. It was later remade by Tsui Hark who cast Maggie Cheung (In the Mood for Love) and Tony Ka Fai Leung in the leads.
After the violent death of General Yu at the hands of his political rival Tsaio, the Emperors’s first eunuch, his two children flee to the western border where Tsaio’s secret police lie in wait to ambush them at the remote Dragon Gate Inn. But grandmaster Hsaio (Chun Shih) turns up at the inn to meet the owner Wu Ning, who emerges as one of the general’s lieutenants, and who has summoned Hsaio to help the children escape, aided and abetted by a brother and sister team of highly skilled martial-artists.
There is a rich painterly quality to this visually sumptuous affair that is both beguiling and gripping with its tense and elegantly-staged action sequences enhanced by a teasingly atmospheric original score by Award-winning composer Lan-Ping Chow (Come Drink With Me). The quality of the acting is also unusually sensitive and subtle for an action adventure outing and Hui-Ying Hua’s widescreen photography absolutely breath-taking. MT
OUT ON 26 OCTOBER 2015 | DUAL FORMAT BLU-RAY DVD COURTESY OF EUREKA | MASTERS OF CINEMA.