New Dragon Gate Inn
Also known as New Dragon Inn. A remake of and homage to King Hu’s 1967 swordplay classic. Produced by Tsui Hark, directed by Raymond Lee Wai-man, with
choreography by Ching Siu-tung. It’s an Eastern Western which anticipates Wong Kar-wai’s Ashes of Time, but without the latter’s deliberate slowness. Set
in the Ming dynasty during a time when eunuchs vied for power at court, the movie features Donnie Yen convincingly playing the chief eunuch Cao Shao-qin.
After sadistically torturing the imperial military commander to death before his children, Cao chooses as his next target Zhou Huaian (Tony Leung Ka-fai),
another military man. Zhou has organized a group of resistance fighters against the corrupt eunuchs, and Cao uses the deceased commander’s children to bait
the trap to ensnare Zhou. other heroes Yen’s character is pitted against include Brigitte Lin as Zhou’s lover and comrade, and Maggie Cheung as the
innkeeper who serves up dumplings stuffed with the meat of former complaining customers to newly arrived guests.
Stylishly filmed, the images are drenched in atmosphere, from the rustic and claustrophobic inn to the whipping winds and sands of the desert. Hundreds of
horses and extras were used for the scene where Cao catches up to the couple and kids. The latter scenes were shot on location on the Mainland in the
Dunhuang Desert and the town of Qingshui. These fight sequences, with twirling and twisting bodies flying through the air amid clouds of sand (courtesy of
Ching Siu-tung’s signature wirework), are phenomenal. You’ll be guaranteed to gasp when Yen rises from the buried sands to take on the heroes. It’s a
spectacular and surprising entrance, and Yen sustained a serious eye injury while executing the stunt. However, undeterred, he returned to continue filming
the confrontation scene, taking on the stunt doubles for Brigitte Lin, Leung Ka-fai, and Maggie Cheung, and choreographing his own movements in this fight.
It’s a whirling dervish of a scene. Furthermore, Yen exhibits masterful skill with two-handed straight sword forms, this weapon rarely being seen in films.
Yen earlier trained in this style while studying in China.
Director: Raymond Lee Wai-man
Producer: Tsui Hark
Action Choreography: Ching Siu-tung
Cast: Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia, Maggie Cheung Man-yuk, Tony Leung Ka-fai, Donnie Yen, Lau Shun, Lawrence Ng kai-wah, Elvis Tsui Kam-kong, Hung Yan-yan, Yuen
Cheung-yan, Yam Sai-koon, Ngai Chung-wai