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Story

The young director Raymond Lee (Rebel from China) deserves some credit for daring to remake one of the great King Hu's most impressive movies. The 1967 original looked like a vintage Technicolor Western, and it had more sweep and panache than any other movie of its kind. Filming in Taiwan, Hu relished the possibilities offered by a shrewdly limited situation. The plots of the two versions are identical: Among the guests at a remote inn in dusty Northern China are representatives of the eunuch-controlled secret police that secretly runs the imperial Ming government, and a group of staunch rebels who have sworn to overthrow them. The story line could be described as an excuse for the sword fights, between as many combinations of antagonists as possible. But when the result was so intoxicating, who could complain? In 1992 Lee updated the basic conception with some winking sexual innuendo and snagged an all-star cast: Maggie Cheung Man-yuk (Song of the Exile), Tony Leung Kar-fei (The Lover), and Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia (Peking Opera Blues). But his staging of action feels mechanical, and the movie never comes to life. You may find yourself nodding out over the endless whirlwind swordplay. --David Chute

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Widescreen

Cast

Brigitte Lin
Tony Leung Ka Fai
Maggie Cheung

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