Dragon Inn 1992 (1992)

Directed by
One of my favourite wuxia films
Reviewed by Simon on 2023-02-24

There is a liberal dose of The Fate of Lee Khan in Raymond Lee's remake of King Hu's Dragon Gate Inn... or is it Tsui Hark's? Maggie Cheung's character is basically a transplant of Li Li-Hua's inn keeper, with no analogue in the original Dragon Inn.

To be fair the two films have a lot in common, so mixing them is easy - and there's a little bit of The Black Tavern in there for good measure. Stylistically the film is pure Tsui Hark though, fast-paced and maximalist where Hu's films were more refined and measured.

Like King Hu's films, the 1992 film is stunning, with gorgeous art direction and beautifully filmed. It oozes with style and features some of Ching Siu-Tung's most creative action design.

It's also one of the sexiest wuxia films. The film essentially orbits around the binary system of Brigitte Lin and Maggie Cheung, whose diametrically opposed models of femininity turn out to be mirror images. Leung Ka-Fai plays the love interest well enough.

Lau Shun always makes an excellent villain - he's delightfully sinister. Donnie Yen is probably miscast as the big boss, but since he's hardly in the film it's hard to be sure. He does turn up when he's needed for the big action finale, where he provides a suitably formidable foe for our heroes.

It's hard to believe that this film is now older than King Hu's original was when this was made. I want to say it doesn't feel old at all, but nothing even remotely like it gets made these days so I suppose it's probably just that I've aged along with it.