New Dragon Gate Inn (1992)
Directed by Raymond Lee
The film is a remake of Dragon Gate Inn (1966). New Dragon Gate Inn was shot as a standard wuxia action thriller, with fast-paced action including martial arts, swordfighting and black comedy set in Imperial China.
This is a period film set during the Ming Dynasty in the desert region of China.
Tsao Siu Yan 曹少钦 (Donnie Yen, 甄子丹) is a power-crazed eunuch who rules his sector of China as if he were the Emperor and not a mere official. He has built up an elite army of skilled archers and horsemen who receive intensive training and powerful weapons. This ruthless body is known as the Dong Chang [东厂, East Chamber Guards].
When elements of his administration plot against him and his despotic rule, Tsao comes down ruthlessly. One such plotter is defence minister Yang Yu Xuan 杨宇轩 who is executed along with his family. Tsao does spare two of the younger children in order to lure Yang's ally, rebel General Chow Wai-on 周淮安(Tony Leung 梁家辉), into a trap.
Escorted by a couple of rather poorly Dong Chang soldiers, the children are sent out into the desert. Rebels, led by Chow's lover, swordswoman Yau Mo-yan 邱莫言(Brigitte Lin 林青霞), arrive to free them, but are attacked by Dong Chang troops. Tsao later calls off the attack when he realises that Chow is not among the fighters.
The rebels and the children then proceed to the Dragon Gate Pass through which they will cross the border.
They reach the Dragon Gate Inn, which is a meeting place for brigands run by brigands. The innkeeper, the lively Jade 金镶玉(Maggie Cheung 张曼玉), runs a sideline in which she seduces and murders her more plump guests, drops them down a chute to the kitchen and has them served as the meat in buns. Jade also keeps whatever money the customer has.
The cutting up is done by her cook Dao (Ngai Chung Wai), an expert at stripping meat to the bones.
Mo-yan and her followers arrive at the inn [龙门客栈]. She is disguised as a man, but Jade is not fooled, claiming that only a woman would pass her without so much as a glance ! That night she confronts Mo-yan and the pair engage in a lively acrobatic fight with both women trying to remain clothed, while stripping the other.
Rebel leader Chow arrives and is re-united with Mo-yan. They plan to cross the border with the children but the bad weather delays their departure. Furthermore Jade takes a liking to Chow and resolves to get him for herself (she probably also has in mind the reward offered for his capture). Things are made even more complicated when Dong Chang officials led by Cha (Lau Shun) arrive at the inn posing as merchants.
The scene is set for a vicious battle of bodies and wits between both sides, with Jade trying to keep the peace and getting every advantage, monetary or otherwise, that she can get out of it. Meanwhile, the bulk of the Dong Chang forces, led by eunuch Tsao himself, are on their way to the inn.
Chow believes that, like most den of thieves, the inn has a secret passage through which his comrades can escape. Jade agrees to show them the passage if Chow will sleep with her. He agrees if they marry first. Jade, a practical girl, is rather surprised at having to marry for a one-night stand but proceeds anyway, with Cha acting as host for the wedding. The heart-broken Mo-yan drowns her sorrows in drink.
The growing tension inside the inn breaks out into open battle when Cha and his men realise that the rebels want to use the secret passage to escape. The fight that follows results in the deaths of all the Dong Chang at the inn and most of the rebels and brigand hosts. Mo-yan herself is seriously injured.
Tsao and his army arrives and lays siege to the inn. Inside there is only a handful of survivors: Jade the innkeeper, Dao the cook, Chow the rebel leader, Mo-yan his lover and the children. They escape through the passage, but a loose ribbon gives them away and Tsao himself sets off in pursuit.
There then ensues a vicious one-on-three battle amidst a desert storm as Tsao fights Jade, Chow and Mo-yan. Weakened by her wounds, Mo-yan perishes in quicksand. Just as Tsao is about to finish off Jade and Chow, Dao suddenly appears and takes him on with his carving knife. He carves away at Tsao, leaving the warlord with a skeletal arm and leg. Chow then moves in for the kill and Tsao is finished.
Chow and the children make their way to the border. Jade knows his heart will always be with Mo-yan. However she and Dao set off to rejoin Chow after burning down the infamous inn.
This was a one of a number of films in which Brigitte Lin is a woman passing off as a man. Others included Peking Opera Blues and Swordsman II.