Today,we are going to talk about a film named New Dragon Inn (新龙门客栈xīn lóngmén kèzhàn). A remake of and homage to King Hu’s 1967 swordplay classic. Produced by Tsui Hark (徐克Xú Kè), directed by Raymond Lee Wai-man, with choreography by Ching Siu-tung (程小东Chéng Xiăodōng). It’s an Eastern Western which anticipates Wong Kar-wai’s Ashes of Time, but without the latter’s deliberate slowness. Set in the Ming dynasty (明朝Míngcháo) during a time when eunuchs vied for power at court, the movie features Donnie Yen convincingly playing the chief eunuch Cao Shao-qin. After sadistically torturing the imperial military commander to death before his children, Cao chooses as his next target Zhou Huaian (Tony Leung Ka-fai), another military man. Zhou has organized a group of resistance fighters against the corrupt eunuchs, and Cao uses the deceased commander’s children to bait the trap to ensnare Zhou. other heroes Yen’s character is pitted against include Brigitte Lin as Zhou’s lover and comrade, and Maggie Cheung as the innkeeper who serves up dumplings stuffed with the meat of former complaining customers to newly arrived guests.
Stylishly filmed, the images are drenched in atmosphere, from the rustic and claustrophobic inn to the whipping winds and sands of the desert. Hundreds of horses and extras were used for the scene where Cao catches up to the couple and kids. The latter scenes were shot on location on the Mainland in the Dunhuang Desert and the town of Qingshui. These fight sequences, with twirling and twisting bodies flying through the air amid clouds of sand (courtesy of Ching Siu-tung’s signature wirework), are phenomenal. You’ll be guaranteed to gasp when Yen rises from the buried sands to take on the heroes. It’s a spectacular and surprising entrance, and Yen sustained a serious eye injury while executing the stunt. However, undeterred, he returned to continue filming the confrontation scene, taking on the stunt doubles for Brigitte Lin, Leung Ka-fai, and Maggie Cheung, and choreographing his own movements in this fight. It’s a whirling dervish of a scene. Furthermore, Yen exhibits masterful skill with two-handed straight sword forms, this weapon rarely being seen in films. Yen earlier trained in this style while studying in China.