Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (Long men fei jia) (2011)

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Released 25-May-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Adventure Main Menu Audio
Trailer-4
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 117:13
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:10) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Hark Tsui
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Jet Li
Xun Zhou
Kun Chen
Lunmei Kwai
Yuchun Li
Mavis Fan
Siu-Wong Fan
Chia Hui Liu
Case ?
RPI ? Music Wai Lap Wu


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Chinese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    I have reviewed quite a lot of historical Chinese action epics over the years and so I was keen to see the latest film from Tsui Hark, Flying Swords of Dragon Gate which also happens to be the first 3D production from China. The Blu-ray version of this title has previously been reviewed by my colleague RayN here.

    I find myself to be very much in agreement with Ray's view on this film, it is too convoluted, with too many characters and subplots and the CGI and 3D effects are overdone, resulting in an impressive spectacle but not an impressive film. It is a shame because with some judicious re-writing (probably by someone other than the director/writer/producer) and a bit more restraint in the effects this could have been a really good film. Tsui's previous film, Detective Dee, was not as flashy but was a significantly better film, due to its interesting plot. Some of the fight and action scenes are certainly entertaining, although the shooting style of lots of quick cuts makes it hard to work out who is who at times. Four major female roles, at least as many major male roles (some of whom look alike) plus lots of other minor characters, makes for confusing watching at times. However, if you just sit back and roll with it there are certainly elements to enjoy in this film.

    If you are looking for a good plot synopsis take a look at Ray's review.

    I would certainly say that genre fans should take a look at this film but it wouldn't be my recommended first film in the genre to show people who have never tried one.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good for SD.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture was very clear and sharp throughout although there was some obvious CGI which added some shimmer and haloing at times. Shadow Detail was very good.

    The colour is very good although there are certainly some scenes which seem somewhat pale, usually ones with lots of CGI & 3D effects.

    Artefacts included some minor aliasing and some small passages of mild background grain but nothing too obvious.

    There are subtitles available in English which are burned-in to the print. They contain a few grammar errors and are too small and thin to be always easily read.

    The layer change occurs at 68:10 but is not obvious.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is excellent for DVD.

    This disc contains a Chinese soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.

    Dialogue seemed clear but my Chinese is non-existent.

    The music by Wu Wai-lap is over the top and can be intrusive at times.

    The surround speakers were used constantly for actions scenes, insects, birds and lots more.

    The subwoofer was also used very well for storms, action and other effects along with supporting the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Nothing much here.

Menu

    The menu included music and allowed for scene selection.

Trailers

    Four trailers for other Chinese films.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is no evidence of either a UK or US release for this film currently. There is a Region 3 DVD version available in Hong Kong which is NTSC but similar otherwise. There is also a two disc edition from Hong Kong. I would just stick to the local version at this point.

Summary

    Tsui Hark's latest film is a big 3D/CGI spectacular that lacks a good script and some restraint in handling the effects.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are only some trailers for other films.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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