The epitome of a 1960s wuxia and a must-see by King Hu. Mostly taking place at one location – the inn – the scenes are never repetitive with impressive feats of acrobatics. Dragon Gate Inn elevated the wu xia genre to a whole new status.
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Cinema’s greatest 'Gesamtkunstwerk': a totality of arts in martial, music, theatre, painting and calligraphy in celebration of a nation's finest culture delineated with the modern medium of film. Operatic with grand leitmotifs in classical tradition of simulated staged-action and cut with the patented technique of 'glimpse', King Hu's yin-styled wuxia (here with utmost heroic bravura) is the pinnacle of filmmaking.
Superb wuxia cinema. Hu creates an incredible atmosphere, tension and suspense (especially in the first hour). In that respect it almost rivals Harakiri (which is far superior), his direction is unassuming but he composes every scene with such elegance, the fight scenes are excellently choreographed. Yes, it wanes ever so slightly towards the end, but it has got me excited to see more from Hu. 4/5
Intense! The first half hour is especially spectacular, once our mysterious man shows up at the inn, and the tension that follows. The preludes to any fight scenes are just as tense and nail baiting as the action itself. The mental mind games and stand offs that leave me throwing my furniture out the window in frustration. The action scenes, especially in the second half, are fluid; utterly beautiful.
7 - An action gem absolutely steeped in period detail, and a masterfully-directed, graciously-edited and paced linchpin of the wuxia genre. Proof positive that budgetary and technological constraints are no match for old school ingenuity. The script is a little bit too reliant on naff tropes, though it hardly matters.
Good guys, bad guys, roaming heroes, deceptively unassuming innkeepers, poison and eunuchs and standoffs at remote outposts... What's not to love? Gorgeous landscapes, great editing, decent choreography and fantastic score. And Polly Shang-Kwan is badass.
Not as visually dazzling as A Touch of Zen, but contains more psychological and narrative depth (aside from the ending). The choreography was a joy, and the 侠(xia) was potent. Easy to see how this laid the groundwork for Tsui Hark's astonishing wuxia flicks, including his 1992 New Dragon Gate Inn w/ Brigitte Lin and Maggie Cheung. Watching this in the mostly empty theater, felt like I was in a Tsai Ming Liang film.