A City Called Dragon (1969)

Directed by
Engaging Taiwanese wuxia
Reviewed by Simon on 2023-07-01

A CITY CALLED DRAGON seems to have been another Union Films production designed to keep the staff busy/fed whilst King Hu worked on A Touch Of Zen. This time his AD steps up to direct yet another tale of patriotic rebels resisting Manchurian invaders.

This is perhaps the only other film from the studio that stands comparison with King Hu's, being well plotted and well-filmed. The camera work is impressive, bordering on avant-garde at times, and Hsu Feng is a commanding presence. It's one of Shih Jun's better roles, even though he is not in it all that much.

It's not an action-heavy film, but when action does break out it kind of pops, with some esoteric editing and impressionistic camera work it presages some of the more fantastical action of later decades, though in a very rough form.

Working my way through the Union Films wuxia catalogue has mostly just given me a greater appreciation for how on top of his game King Hu was, but A City Called Dragon shows that his team weren't solely depend on him for guidance. Whilst it perhaps lacks Hu's precision and meticulous attention to detail it is visually compelling and narratively engaging.

The film can be watched for free on TaiwanPlus but the subtitles are badly out of sync.

The Hoker DVD looks worse and the subtitles are less well translated, but they are properly synced so it's the better option overall... or if you're willing/able to put some work in, I'll upload new subtitles to OpenSubtitles that sync with the TaiwanPlus stream.

Crew

Director
Action Director
Production Company
Writer
Producer
Assistant Director
Cinematographer
Editor
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Also known as

  • Ten Days in Dragon City

See also