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Review: The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate

The first Chinese martial-arts film in 3D
By PETER KEOUGH  |  August 28, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

Swords aren't the only things flying in Tsui Hark's splendidly absurd wuxia — the first Chinese martial-arts film in 3D. Bandits, woman warriors, eunuchs, even a building, à la The Wizard of Oz, soar about in gleeful disregard of the laws of physics. The story also threatens to lose control: during the Ming Dynasty, the "East" and "West" bureaus — kind of like the CIA and the FBI with a touch of the Spanish Inquisition — oppress the people. Opposing them are Zhou (Jet Li), a Robin Hood type with a band of merry martial artists; Ling (Zhou Xun),a female avenger; and a gang of Tatar thieves headed by the sultry Buludu (Gwei Lun-mei). They all meet at the inn of the title, where chaos reigns. The performances root the craziness in real emotion, especially those of the women. And Hark orchestrates it all with sly formal acuity, matching a majestic tracking shot of a seaport at the beginning with one near the end of a city in ruins — a reminder of the insignificance of human turmoil.

  Topics: Reviews , China, Martial Arts, Chinese,  More more >
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