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Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 

Gorgeous but muddled

click to enlarge Coincidentally, brocade is really in for fall
  • Coincidentally, brocade is really in for fall

The prettiest pictures can still be dragged down by context, and such is the case in the gorgeous but muddled martial arts spectacle, Flying Swords of Dragon Gate. The first wuxia, or Chinese martial arts film shot in Imax and 3-D, Dragon Gate finds dozens of characters (including evil eunuchs, flute-playing killers and Jet Li) arriving at an isolated desert inn which sits atop a mystical buried city of fabulous wealth. As you can guess, a lot of intricate and aesthetically pleasing fights soon break out. Hong Kong New Wave filmmaking legend Hark Tsui (Once Upon a Time in China) writes and directs, sturdily using breathtaking 3-D effects to make every grain of sand, strand of silk and glistening blade pop. Which makes it all the more of a shame that such an ungainly and complicated plot muddy these otherwise pristine frames.

Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (Long men fei jia)
Rated R (MPAA) · 121 min. · 2012
Director: Hark Tsui
Writer: Hark Tsui
Cast: Jet Li, Xun Zhou, Kun Chen, Lunmei Kwai, Yuchun Li, Mavis Fan, Siu-Wong Fan and Chia Hui Liu

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