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Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

“Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate” is a bloated mess.

“Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate” reunites Jet Li with famed director Tsui Hark in this multi-story reimagining of sorts of “New Dragon Gate Inn.” The main story of this wuxia epic involves a warrior rebel named Zhao who fights against the corrupt East and West Bureaus, but there are also key stories involving treasure hunting thieves and a warrior woman named Ling who is protecting a pregnant concubine on the run from an assassin named Yu. All 3 stories wind up leading to the same place- a desert inn called Dragon Gate (in which there is allegedly buried treasure nearby).

Jet Li, a Gordon Liu cameo, crazy wirework action, Tsui Hark, intense sword fights- sounds like martial arts movie heaven, right? Not if you’re expecting a Tsui Hark/Jet Li classic of old such as the “Once Upon A Time In China” series.

Back in the 80’s, ‘Gate’ might have been a fun movie, but with today’s technology stuffed in and a past his prime Jet Li, the movie looks and feels like a slightly more expensive made for cable flick. Sure, the film looks visually pleasing much of the time (especially the production design and costumes), but at the end of the day, ‘Gate’ is little more than a sloppy spectacle.

Much of the problem comes from Tsui Hark’s script which is far too crammed with subplots, characters, and clumsy exposition. Tsui Hark’s direction and cinematographers Parkie Chan and Johnny Choi’s work isn’t much better here as the action is largely cartoony, the fight scenes are poorly choreographed and sped-up, and, worst of all, the CGI usage is flat-out amateurish (see the CGI logs and the groan worthy fight inside a tornado for reference).

Summary: Pop in one of Tsui Hark and Jet Li’s past classics and skip this one.

Video/Audio:

The film, which is presented in widescreen, looks decent enough on DVD, but let’s face it, the Blu-ray looks superior in every manner. The picture is so much more detailed and colorful in hi-def. True, the CGI flaws do look more apparent in 1080p, but the transfer can’t be faulted for that. There’s also a Blu-ray 3D copy here if you are into that.

The DVD contains Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 and English 2.0 Stereo tracks. The Mandarin track does a fine job with the action and original language track. The English dub, however, is bad. Really bad. The Blu-ray disc contains a Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD track and a English 2.0 Stereo track. The DTS track naturally offers up more layered sounds than the Dolby track on the DVD.

Extras:
* Indomina, Vivdeni, “Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate” trailers.
* “Behind The Scenes”-33 minutes of set footage, rehearsals, and a behind-the scenes look at certain scenes.
* “Interviews With the Cast And Filmmakers”- The cast and crew talk about Tsui Hark, fight scenes, role play, and the world of wuxiia.
* “Making Of Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate Parts 1 and 2”- This 2 part extra features rehearsal footage, interviews, and a behind-the-scenes look at the green screen and wire work.
* Blu-ray 3D Copy.

October 9, 2012 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review, DVD review | , , , , ,

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