A 2011 Wuxia film directed by Tsui Hark and starring Jet Li
(among others) set in the Ming Dynasty, and shot in 3D
Zhou Huai'an (Jet Li) is a vigilante waging a war against the corrupt eunuchs of the Imperial Court. The Eunuchs are divided between East Bureau and West Bureau, both equally corrupt though West Bureau is clearly the more powerful. A pregnant woman escapes from the Imperial Court and is hunted down by West Bureau because of the possibility (however remote) she might be carrying the Emperor's child.
From there, things get strange.
It is a remake/sequel to the 1992 movie, New Dragon Inn
. Which, itself, was a remake/sequel.
This film contains examples of
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Yu Huatian has one that goes through solid rock.
- Acting for Two: The Big Bad and a smalltime crook, who naturally has to impersonate the former.
- Action Girl: Several. Ling Yanqiu, the innkeeper, that Knife Nut woman with the throwing knives that catch each other...
- Actor Allusion: Jet Li gets to deliver multiple flying kicks in the climax.
- All Love Is Unrequited: The ex-female innkeeper is in love with Zhou, who cares for her immensely but clearly does not return her affections. Meanwhile Feng Li Dao used to be in a relationship with his companion, who still likes him but hides it behind being strictly business. The current inkeeper meanwhile is infatuated with Feng despite his buttmonkey status while H'ganta is in love with her. Surprisingly, the only couple that gets together in the end is Feng Li Dao and the current innkeeper, who ride off to the capital leaving the former's companion frustrated, the latter's second in command H'ganta upset, and Zhou chasing after the ex- innkeeper, who is about to die from her wounds.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: At least in West Bureau and (seemingly) East Bureau.
- Badass: The entirety of the cast. Notable because, like New Dragon Inn, the eunuchs are invincible sword masters.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Su
- Also, the Emperor's concubine. She's apparently so influential she created West Bureau.
- Boat Lights: Doubles as a Red Right Hand for Ma Jianliang.
- Butt Monkey: Feng Li Dao.
- Death by Cameo: Gordon Liu is the first of the eunuchs to fall before Zhou.
- Decoy Damsel
- The Dragon: Ma Jianliang to Yu Huatian.
- Epic Flail: Jet Li has a sword on a chain. Your argument is invalid.
- Heel-Face Turn
- Historical In-Joke: The movie ends with the concubine responsible for all this being poisoned by Feng Li Dao posing as Yu Huatian. History simply lists her death as organ failure - and also notes that the successor to this Emperor never took concubines of his own. Now we know why.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Su Huirong dies when she falls onto her own razor wire (see Laser Hallway below)
- I Ate What?: When violence breaks out in Dragon Gate Inn, expect tomorrow's dinner to be made out of the losers.
- Identical Stranger
- I'm a Humanitarian: The head of East Bureau drinks wine which has pickled body parts in it.
- Anyone who doesn't bring their own chop sticks to Dragon Gate Inn.
- Improvised Weapon: Everyone does this at some point, in pretty much all of the fight scenes. No chair, table, rock, wooden beam, teacup, flag, thatched roof, or shirtsleeve is left alone. A notable example is when Yu Huatian breaks the floor with his foot and kicks up a piece of debris to deflect a teacup thrown at his face.
- Laser Hallway: a low-tech version, used by Su, consisting of Razor Wire stretched tightly
- Made of Iron
- The Mole
- Ragnarok-Proofing: Averted with the hidden ruins. Su Huirong even puts the booby traps there herself.
- Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: To make an analogy; imagine Luke, Leia, Darth Vader, Han, Chewie, and Boba Fett were on a team together.
- Red Right Hand: Ma Jianliang's mismatched eyes and a Glasgow Grin under that mask.
- Shaggy Dog Story: Sort of. The Emperor's maid has been Dead All Along and the treasure is buried almost as soon as its found. The only people who get what they want is the rebels.
- Smug Snake: Yu Huatian, very much.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: East Bureau, the villains from New Dragon Inn, are weaklings compared to WEST Bureau.
- Spaghetti Western: Another recent Wuxia film to be stylistically influenced by melancholic and violent films of Sergio Leone (Donnie Yen's "14 Blades" being another), being set in the windswepts deserts of Shing Jian Province, China.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: In a sense: Yu Hua Tian prefers to break swords into pieces and throw the shards instead.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: The movie ends with the major characters Put on a Bus, leaving Feng Li Dao to finish their work, with the female innkeeper rebel in tow. His big plan - impersonate Yu Huatian one last time, and take down the Man Behind the Man.
- Translator Buddy: The Brute at Dragon Gate Inn works as this for the owner. Except it's all a front.
- Vanishing Village: The real reason they're all there - a sandstorm every 60 years will uncover ancient ruins and the treasure hidden in them.
- Xanatos Gambit: Su being an agent of West Bureau. They presumably executed the real concubine and have agents like her spread throughout creation to attract wandering do-gooders.
- You All Meet in an Inn: Literally the case.