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Film / Flying Swords of Dragon Gate

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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 film New Dragon Gate Inn. Which, itself, was a remake/sequel of the 1967 Dragon Gate Inn.

This film contains examples of

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Yu Huatian has one that goes through solid rock.

  • Dark Action Girl: Even Su Huirong, the woman they've all been after.
  • 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.
Dragon-in-Chief: Yu is actually this to the Emperor's jealous Smug Snake concubine.
  • 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'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
  • Lighter and Softer: It's the third version and second remake based off Dragon Gate Inn, and by far the most light-hearted and least violent, with most of the action scenes being Wire Fu-based acrobatics, onscreen deaths being far less gory, and the darker themes (like the Dragon Gate Inn dealing with cannibalism an child murder) of previous versions omitted out. The protagonist played by Jet Li is also far more heroic and not as morally ambiguous as his predecessors.