New Dragon Gate Inn (Xin Long Men ke Zhan): Special Collector's Edition (1992)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-Donnie Yen Promo
Biographies-Cast-Maggie Cheung And Brigitte Lin
Trailer-Hong Kong Legends
|Year Of Production||1992|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (72:48)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Universal Pictures Home Video
Tony Leung Ka Fai
Xin Xin Xiong
Yee Kwan Yan
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Auto Pan & Scan Encoded||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This film is a remake of King Hu's classic 1966 Dragon Gate Inn, though I don't remember the original as being as silly and incoherent as this one. The story revolves around a group of good guys who converge on the Dragon Gate Inn, which is at the border between two provinces. The inn is in a province controlled by the eunuch Cao (Donnie Yen), who has had the defence minister and his family executed as part of his plot to dethrone the Emperor. Some freedom fighters led by Zhou (Tony Leung Ka Fai) and Mo Yan (Brigitte Lin) have managed to save two of the minister's children, and seek to smuggle them out of the province.
And so they descend on the Dragon Gate Inn, run by Jade King (Maggie Cheung), who has a sideline in pork buns with human meat substituted for the pork. A group of officials sent by Cao are also there, trying to kill our heroes as well as avoid the attentions of the local General (Elvis Tsui).
This could have been a good film if it wasn't such a mess. The plotline is thinly developed and it is not always clear what is happening. There is a lot of black comedy as well as sexual humour, the fight sequences have been speeded up too much and the byplay between the characters does not always make sense or seem believable. The climactic battle on the dunes is totally unbelievable, with one of the silliest resolutions you could imagine.
The main actors are not bad, especially Cheung and Lin. It's surprising to see Elvis Tsui and Lawrence Ng in this film, given that they usually turn up in Category III movies - the equivalent of our R certificate and usually given to sexual exploitation flicks, for example Sex and Zen in which they both appear. (Speaking of which, when is that movie getting a Region 4 release?) The direction is at times woeful, though the editing is poor as well. Still, this sort of adventure epic has its own audience, and they will be pleased to see this released.
The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The original aspect ratio was 1.85:1.
The transfer is reasonably sharp and detailed, but it lacks some finer detail. While the transfer still shows some grain, it appears that noise reduction filters have been applied, as there are smearing artefacts caused by excessive noise reduction. This is especially noticeable in low lighting, for example at 32:30.
Parts of the transfer seem a little dark, and there are problems with shadow detail at times. Colours tend towards brown shades, though flesh tones are satisfactory.
Some low level noise is apparent in the darker scenes. Film artefacts are relatively few, with some flecking and occasional faint scratches.
The optional English subtitles are quite well done in an easily readable white font. I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors.
The disc is RSDL-formatted with the layer change placed at 72:48 at a cut.
Unlike most of the Hong Kong Legends releases, this disc does not get a remixed Cantonese surround track. Instead we get a Dolby Digital 2.0 track without surround encoding. The alternative English dub is in Dolby Digital 5.1, but I chose to listen to the original soundtrack.
This is a mono soundtrack, which sounds acceptable but really does not add any extra dimension to the film. The Cantonese audio is dubbed, often with lip-sync problems, but the dialogue is clear. There is little sense of life in the sound, with it all sounding a little flat.
The music score is not bad for this sort of film. At times it seems a bit over-the-top but generally matches the feel of the movie.
|Surround Channel Use|
A rather small extras package as HKL releases go. Perhaps this was one of their earlier efforts in Region 2.
The usual mix of animation using extracts from the film and music which comes from some other source.
An original release trailer.
A short interview with the chief villain of the piece.
Music from the film with some visual extracts. I'm not sure if this was put together for this release or was a promotional clip used for the original cinema release.
A selection of stills taken from the film.
Two informative text biographies and filmographies of the two female stars. There are several spelling errors.
Trailers for other HKL releases.
The UK Region 2 also comes from HKL and the Region 4 seems to be a port of this.
In comparison to the US Region 1, the Region 4 misses out on:
The Region 1 misses out on:
The Region 1 sounds as though it hasn't been cleaned up, with dirt and other detritus reported.
A French Region 2 release has additional filmographies but only comes in a box set with another Maggie Cheung film called Green Snake. This disc has non-removable French subtitles and no English subtitles.
A Hong Kong release without region coding from Mei Ah has a Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 track as well as mono Cantonese and Mandarin alternatives. It has English subtitles but no extras. I have not found any reviews of it, but I have a few Mei Ah discs and typically they have average to mediocre transfers and poor English subtitles.
A Region 3 release from Korea has a Cantonese surround track with mono Cantonese and Mandarin alternatives. It has English subtitles and a couple of trailers.
I think that the audio commentary tips the scales slightly in favour of the Region 1.
If you like your kung fu exaggerated to the point of silliness, this film is for you.
The video transfer is disappointing in some respects.
The audio quality is average.
The extras package is also a little disappointing.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Main: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175|