Director: Wilson Yip Wai-shun
Starring: Donnie Yen, Nicholas Tse, Shawn
Yue, Dong Jie, Li Xiao-ran, Yuen Wah
RunTime: 1 hr 38 mins
Released By: Eng Wah
Rating: PG (Fighting Scenes)
Day: 28 July 2006
Wong is a highly skilled martial artist with a strong sense
of justice. At the yearly bun festival, Tiger realizes that
a group of triad gangsters are bullying innocent people. Tiger,
unable to stand by and just watch, defeats the gangsters using
his special move – Dragon Slaying Leg Eighteen, and
accidentally grabs the garland from the top of the bun mountain
winning the applause and admiration of the audience. Hidden
in the garland is a gold medal.
turns out that this gold medal is the Lousha token decreed
by the leader of the Lousha Gate, Shibumi. ‘Gate’
is a word describing martial arts sect or organization and
Lousha Gate is a criminal organization in Asia and whoever
owns the gold medal has the right to demand the full cooperation
of Lousha Gate. Tiger, unaware of the medal’s powers,
is ambushed by the gang during his celebrations. As fate has
it, he is saved by Dragon Wong, the bodyguard of one of the
gangsters, who is sent to retrieve the medal. A blonde youth
using nunchakus, Turbo Shek, also joins in to help them. Dragon
retrieves the medal from Tiger. Tiger is shocked when he notices
a jade pendant and realizes that Dragon is his step-brother.
Dragon is part of Jiang Hu - the complicated society of the
martial arts world involving different Gates of evil and good,
and working for a criminal gang, he has kept himself away
from any criminal activities. After Dragon’s gangster
boss Ma Kun returns the plaque to Shibumi he announces his
retirement from Jiang Hu. Shibumi is angry upon hearing this
news and sends his adopted daughter Lousha to destroy Ma.
meantime, Tiger has asked Ma Kun’s daughter Ma Xiaoling
to help him inform Dragon that they are brothers. Xiaoling,
who has already taken a liking to Tiger, agrees to help him.
Dragon actually recognised him from the beginning but refuses
to accept him. Lousha kills Ma Kun, but fortunately Dragon
manages to fight his way out and escapes to Dragon Tiger Gate
with Ma Xiaoling. Dragon hands Xiaoling over to Tiger and
leaves, as he is unable to forget the past and so is unable
to enter Dragon Tiger Gate.
by the appearance of worthy opponents at Dragon Tiger Gate,
Shibumi appears itching for a fight and kills their master
Wong Jianglong. Tiger and Shek are devastated. They try to
fight back but are no match for Shibumi. Shibumi wipes out
Dragon Tiger Gate and leave the two heroes for dead.
Xiaoling manages to escape with the badly wounded heroes to
Bai Yun Mountain in China to seek help from Master Qi, an
enigmatic recluse. Qi is famed for his expert skills in martial
arts and healing, but also know for his eccentricity and unpredictable
character. Xiaoling uses everything she can think of to persuade
him to help and finally wins him over with her sincerity and
Master Qi brings the heroes back from the gates of death.
Master Qi then imparts special skills to both Tiger and Shek
and they vow to revenge the death of their master Wong Jianglong.
Meanwhile, Dragon almost dies from internal injuries but is
saved by Lousha, as all along Lousha and Dragon have been
in Lousha Gate, Shibumi is unafraid of the trio’s attack.
He waits at the scene of their final showdown…
First of all, don’t be put off by the cheesy
monikers such as “Tiger Wong” and “Dragon
Wong” or the incomprehensive slick martial-arts moves.
Welcome to the world of “Dragon Tiger Gate”, the
fascinating world whereby highly skilled pugilists be they
evil or good fight it out! Adapted from the legendary Tony
Wong’s classic, must-read HK manga of all times, “Dragon
Tiger Gate” popularity is comparable to Marvel’s
X-men or Spider-man in the Chinese comics arena.
story plotting sounds as if they are derived and woven from
all those past familiar Ti Lung and David Chiang’s Shaw
martial arts movies from the 70’s. Three upright young
men (“Dragon”, “Tiger” and “Turbo”)
after going through life turmoil decide to band together to
rid the country number one’s evildoer, Shibumi. Yah,
you must have either heard or seen it somewhere. However,
this is one forgivable area, consider the original book formats
started their origins back in the early days where the vintage
Shaw Production Company is churning out martial-arts genres
by the dozens.
the lead roles is Donnie Yen (who also served as action choreographer
and producer), Nicholas Tse and Shawn Yue. Accordingly, Tse
and Yue have to undergo months of martial arts training to
fully pull off the believable stunts onscreen. Both young
actors put in a fair performance as “Tiger Wong”
and “Turbo Shek” respectively maybe except their
mousy hairdo if you want to be picky but Yen’s charismatic
and immerse veteran action moves overshadowed all, the moment
he displayed that all so-cool kungfu stance.
addition, the performance from the rest of the supporting
cast including Dong Jie and Li Xiao-ran (both relatively newcomers
from China) and veteran Yuen Wah is commendable, it’s
the ultimate villain, Shibumi that is a letdown. Apparently,
little is known about this man-behind-the-mask’s motives,
background, thus Shibumi ended up as a two-dimensional character.
Or better put, just a punch bag for ‘Dragon Wong’
in the finale. Amazingly, believe it or not Louis Koo is credited
as Shibumi under guest appearances. And just like Stan Lee
usual appearances in Marvel’s productions, Tony Wong
the original scribe of the comics appear as Master Qi.
costume and sets design is a nod to the comics. Sets such
as the ‘Tiger Dragon Gate’, 'Japanese restaurant’
and ‘Inn’ looks as though they are practically
lifted out from the pages from the manga. The inclusion of
hand-drawn comics-like images serving as backgrounds has a
nice, nostalgia touch.
perhaps it’s the ultimately fast, harrowing action sequences
that best captured the comic spirit. The immensely gravity-defying
kicks and spinning moves is a treat to the kungfu hungry audience.
The outrageous kungfu moves on paper simply comes to live
under Yen’s choreography. Get your eye drop ready because
the moment you blink an eye, you might miss a deadly fast
move by the trio!
by Wilson Yip, the man behind last year’s hard-hitting
“SPL”, “Dragon Tiger Gate” is part
fantasy, part action and adapted from a well-known comic and
most of all, a fitting showcase of what the flagging HK film
industry is capable of pulling off.
West has X-men and Spider-man. The East has Dragon Tiger Gate.
It’s time to release the oriental jewel once again!)
by Linus Tee