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Dragon Inn
|     review    |     notes     |     awards     |     availability     |
     

Donnie Yen (left) and Brigitte Lin (right) are adversaries in Dragon Inn.
Year: 1992  
Director: Raymond Lee Wai-Man  
Producer: Tsui Hark  
Action: Ching Siu-Tung, Yuen Bun, Cheung Yiu-Sing
Cast: Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk, Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Donnie Yen Di-Jan, Lau Shun, Lawrence Ng Kai-Wah, Elvis Tsui Kam-Kong, Xiong Xin-Xin, Yen Shi-Kwan
The Skinny: Dragon Inn is yet another Ming Dynasty swordplay epic that features a bunch of power-hungry eunuchs and Brigitte Lin dressed up like a guy. Still, it ain't half bad.
Review by
Calvin
McMillin
:

     Those pesky eunuchs are at it again! Set during the Ming Dynasty, Raymond Lee's Dragon Inn details the trials and tribulations of the Chinese people as they live under the oppressive rule of the East Chamber, a powerful eunuch court led by the nefarious Tsao Siu-Yan (Donnie Yen). Two do-gooders by the name of Chow Wai-On (Tony Leung) and Yau Mo-Yin (Brigitte Lin) save a couple of innocent kids from the fiendish clutches of the East Chamber only to find refuge at the titular Dragon Inn, a sort of rundown Motel 6 in the middle of a barren wasteland.
     Once there, the heroic duo meet the gin joint's sexy owner Jade (Maggie Cheung), a ballsy moll-type who doesn't mind killing a guy or two in order to make a tasty pork bun. Soon, the disguised East Chamber goons end up staying at the inn, eventually engaging in a tense game of cat-and-mouse with the nervous young rebels. In a setup worthy of Casablanca, our pair of heroes hope that the innkeeper will smuggle them out via her secret passageway. However, considering the presence of the eunuchs, the audience begins to wonder whether the lure of earthly riches will tempt Jade to the dark side.
     Though the cinematography and the all-star cast help brighten the proceedings, some viewers might be bored by film's plot, which upon closer inspection is a thinly veiled commentary on the 1997 Hong Kong handover. But even so, all is forgiven by the time Donnie Yen shows up in the film's gory, all-hell-breaks-loose finale. In an ending duel that has to be seen to be believed, Yen battles our trio of heroes as a sandstorm rages on, threatening to consume all of the combatants. The duel alone is so exhilarating and over the top that it makes the sometimes-plodding Dragon Inn worth the price of admission. (Calvin McMillin 2002)

Notes:

Shot on location in China's Northern Desert.
This film is a remake of King Hu's 1967 film Dragon Gate Inn.
The Tai Seng DVD is uncut and restores over fifteen minutes of additional footage.
Awards:

12 Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
Nomination - Best Actress (Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk)
Nomination - Best Cinematography (Arthur Wong Ngok-Tai, Lau Moon-Tong)
Nomination - Best Editing (Poon Hung)
Nomination - Best Action Choreography (Ching Siu-Tung, Yuen Bun, Cheung Yiu-Sing)
Golden Horse Awards
Winner - Best Action Choreography (Ching Siu-Tung, Yuen Bun, Cheung Yiu-Sing)
Availability: DVD (USA)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
    DVD (USA)
Region 0 NTSC
Tai Seng Video Marketing
Widescreen
Cantonese, Mandarin and English Language Tracks
Dolby Digital Mono
Removable English Subtitles

image courtesy of Tai Seng Video Marketing, Ltd.

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