A band of revolutionaries and a group of Imperial Guards end up forced to shelter from the desert in an inn run by feisty bandit Maggie Cheung. Suspicion and intrigue follow as all parties try to maintain all possible politeness whilst exploiting the situation to their advantage. Meanwhile, an evil eunuch is converging on their location, with weapons drawn and bloody.
The film is a remake of King Hu's classic DRAGON GATE INN from 1967, though it incorporates about equal measures of plot and character from his later film THE FATE OF LEE KHAN as well. Raymond Lee is credited as director, but it's no secret that Tsui Hark took over the reins at times (possibly much of the time) and it feels very much like a Tsui Hark film.
The action choreography is some of Ching Siu-Tung's finest work, intensely acrobatic and all filmed very stylishly (but suffering from unnecessary undercranking in places). Sets, locations and costumes are all beautiful, very evocative and atmospheric. The script is good too (containing lots of King Hu intrigue and character politics), with the characters all coming across as very witty and charming. The main focus is on the feminine rivalry between Maggie Cheung and Brigitte Lin.
Similar to SWORDMAN II, but less blue and more desert, basically. It's an excellent film - one of the highlights of the early 90's new wave wu xia style... there is no question that you should buy it!
|Tony Leung Ka-Fai|