Set three years after Dragon Inn, innkeeper Jade has disappeared and a new inn has risen from the ashes - one that's staffed by marauders masquerading as law-abiding citizens, who hope to unearth the fabled lost city buried in the desert.
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The Emperor's eunuchs have gained power and influence, the East Bureau and West Bureau spy and police the nation. They visit the shipyards, but only as a cover to execute those who would try and report their taking of bribes to the Emperor. Zhao Huai'an fights the leader of the East Bureau, defeating him and putting his head in a box and hanging it as a warning to other corrupt officials. The Emperor's chief concubine wants them to prevent the Emperor impregnating anyone aside from her. Three pregnant courtesans have been executed, a fourth is being hunted down. Officials stop a riverboat and are about to execute a woman but a masked hero intervenes. Zhao watches from nearby and the masked hero also claims to be Zhao. The imposter helps the courtesan flee to Dragons Gate, Zhao and his followers decide to fight the West Bureau to help delay them and aid in the escape.Written by
Tsui also invited Chuck Comisky, the visual-effects supervisor for James Cameron's Avatar (2009), as the 3-D director to manage the special effects. Comisky will lead a team of 3D crew from China, Korea, Singapore, Spain, etc. See more »
Raymond Lee is credited as the director of one of my favourite Hong Kong Wuxia film NEW DRAGON GATE INN (1992, a 9/10), but the real puppeteer is the producer Hark Tsui, the godfather figure in the heyday of Hong Kong Kung Fu sensation during 80s and 90s. So nearly 20 years later, when he decided to make a sequel of the original film, with a pristine cast (top- billed by Jet Li, Xun Zhou, Kun Chen and an assemblage of domestic celebrities from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), my expectation was quite high (as I rarely watch any Chinese films now), also Tsui's previous detective-action big-budgeted vehicle DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME (2010, a 7/10) has somewhat rescued him from his career ennui since the millennium, so god forgives me if I hadn't prepared for the worst, and this film is an utter disaster.
The storyline has never been at least fluent enough to let the audience know what is happening and the reactions ignited by various plots are beyond any possible interrelations, so at most 45 minutes later, I cannot care less about the story and I believe I am not the only one.
The cast is quite awful, Jet Li is too old to resurrect Tony Leung Ka Fai's original role and Li is literally only 5 years younger, so basically it's just a strategy for the sake of the action part, and every earth man knows Li is not a talented actor besides his Chinese Kung Fu. So as gifted as Xun Zhou, their emotional interaction is for naught. The only saving grace if one must pick is Kun Chen, who has two different roles (including the unexplained doppelgänger in the dramatis personae), at least leaves some vague impression in the shattered hotchpotch of direly fake CGI effects in the desert, a treasure-hunting chicanery and many other ridiculous and incoherent twists.
Gosh, I have already dwindled my quota of Chinese films each year to the maximum of 5, and this megalomaniac film could have successfully grabbed tons of money in the box office during the Spring Festival season does baffle me so much, is the market really so parched that poor audience would simply take anything would quench their thirst no matter how illogically laughable the quality. I feel so worried and upset towards the future of Chinese film ground, the scale of cinemas is enlarging day by day but basically is where tasteless garbages consecutively reside.
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