龍虎門
Dragon Tiger Gate (2006)


Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 05/19/2011
Summary: ever think about changing your name to leopard?

i can't be arsed writing a synopsis for this, so i'll steal the one from imdb - "three young martial arts masters emerge from the back streets of hong kong to help the powerless fight injustice" - well, it's a rubbish synopsis, but then again, it is a rubbish film, so who cares?

attempting to bring this 1970s manga, of the same name, to the big screen must have seemed like a good idea but, in reality (or should that be, with the benefit of hindsight?), it clearly wasn't. luckily 'flashpoint', which was jolly good fun and a highly enjoyable little movie was just around the corner, as this film had started to sully the good name that 'spl' - the previous effort from director wilson yip and star / choreographer donnie yen - had garnered.

nicholas tse, who i usually like, unless he's been cast as a genuine adult, with a sense of responsibility - something he just can't carry off - is not performing at his best. i blame the weight of his ridiculous fringe. shawn yue who, with a shaved head, is pretty great in 'invisible target', alongside the youthfully irresponsible and hell-bent on revenge nicholas tse, is also weighed down with bleached blonde locks of an even more outlandish crop of hair. still, both of these two must be thankful that they're not donnie yen, who has not only the worst hair of the trio, but has to also attempt to be a character who is half his age. he fails...

so, having to deal with three leads who have been stylised within an inch of their lives, stumbling through a script which mixes trite kung-fu philosophy with a pretty lame narrative about an accidentally stolen marker, which allows various gangland characters the ability to conduct their business, we end up with a pretty poor film.

what makes it worse, is that the action which the yip / yen partnership spewed fourth in 'spl' is watered down and made wishy-washy here, with over stylised and sillified feats of cgi enhanced crappery. bah...

pants.


Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011


Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 10/26/2010
Summary: Good fun

Donnie Yen & Wilson Yip take on the comic book martial arts genre, one which has been sadly underexplored in Hong Kong in my opinion. The inspiration is an apparently not particularly popular comic series, and the plot is certainly nothing to get excited by so it's not clear why this was the chosen source material. The world the film is set in is interesting stylistically, though, with some very impressive sets that are well captured by the high budget production.

The story is mostly forgetable, and would have benefited from the excision of Shawn Yu's character Turbo. The film does deliver on eye candy though, and features some pretty cool action scenes - nice to see Donnie Yen exploring a more fanciful style of action, with lots of wires and CGI. The result is quite unique, and often very impressive.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 06/29/2009
Summary: Good action, not much else.

Childhood friends Dragon (Donnie Yen) and Tiger (Nicholas Tse) reunite as adults on different sides of the Dragon Tiger Gate, a place where youngsters are taught to become heroes. While Tiger has become an upstanding citizen, Dragon has become the top muscle for the criminal Lousha gang and its masked head, Shibumi. The two friends come together with the help of nunchaku-wielding friend Turbo (Shawn Yu) when the master of Dragon Tiger Gate (Yuen Wah) is killed by Shibumi.

Reuniting director Yip and Donnie Yen from the previous year’s superior action film SPL, and chucking a sizable budget at the screen, the hopes were high for DRAGON TIGER GATE.

It starts with a bang, and delivers high energy action from choreographer Yen – who incidentally seems to have found a time machine somewhere along his travels as he appears to be getting younger as the years go by. While the action is along the more fantastic wire-fu variety, it is delivered in an exciting way and almost never ceases to be enjoyable. The inclusion of Turbo and his ever-present nunchaku grounds the film in some kind of reality when he’s present (barring some special effects shots) and the mixture works well.

However, the narrative isn’t so good. I suspect a lot of this is down to being based on a comic strip – there are far too many characters and back-stories thrown in that it quickly becomes frustrating. I imagine fans of the comic strip will appreciate the detail and thoroughness of DRAGON TIGER GATE’s weaving storylines, but personally I thought the film could have lost a few characters and not been any the worse for it. Again, this is probably obvious for fans of the source material, but I found the partly modern urban and partly dark fantasy settings a bit strange. It’s always going to be hard to fit a well-established literary serial into a 94-minute movie, but I just wished they’d have simplified it a bit for newbies.

It’s always nice to see Yuen Wah in an action role (albeit rather digitally enhanced) and he has a good, meaty role as Master Wong. Other than him and the leads, though, the rest is all pretty forgettable, except for a scene with a fully dressed Li Xiao-Ran taking a dip in a swimming pool. Even third lead Turbo is somewhat a mystery and even though I love nunchaku scenes I thought his character was surplus to requirements.

With so many people praising Hong Kong’s action sequences in an age where they are no longer as accomplished as they used to be and ignoring their much improved ability to tell a good story, it’s always a shocker to see something directly to the contrary. And that’s what DRAGON TIGER GATE is for me – a lot of good action scenes with some less inspired dialogue and uninteresting characters in between.


Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Beat TG
Date: 06/26/2009
Summary: Nice comic book adaptation

First got to take a peek of this back around the time of its theatrical release (no, not at the theater) and the only reason being due to Donnie Yen and his fabulous action choreography. From what I can remember, I didn't like the overall movie as much as I wanted because, out of extreme expectations of a style too similar to SPL (which was a movie where I loved everything that was shown, and still do), it came out as a disappointment both in the story and action department. Simple enough, DRAGON TIGER GATE, while having almost the same crew, it's a totally different movie with a different approach/message and limiting the freedom of making up ideas because it's based on a comic book, which means Donnie had to stick to the intentional formulas of that material (despite Yip and crew cheating on this to please all groups of audiences). However, this has really grown on me for these past years and seeing it again was more appreciating than before, realizing that the movie is indeed something far from the nihilistic, tragic, depressed and dark world that is SPL.

However, I feel that DRAGON TIGER GATE lacks quite alot of characterization. Donnie Yen and Nicholas Tse get enough exposition of their roles they play so what you make out of their characters is what you get to understand when they express themselves or find themselves in various situations. But for the rest, more scenes was definitely needed; Turbo (to an extent), Shibumi, Rosa, Dragon's mother, Master Wong etc got little of it and in the end you are left wondering more about them. Something else I thought slowed and limited the character development was the unnecessity of putting out all these pointless scenes where characters form simple relationships or just do random things yet not much happens from there. Something else is the authenticity of the story which apparently was changed alot but I guess it would probably mean less to the average viewer (although there's so much missing and unexplained making no sense at the same time). But for fans/followers of the comic book, the movie may be something of disjoined and unfair as an attempt to bring the comic book to the screen. Fortunately, I'm not one of them so I couldn't care less.

If anything, I think what makes the movie worth watching is the action scenes. Knowing that Donnie was the action director of the movie, I somewhat knew what to expect from him. The power, impact, touches, editing, the MA and camera techniques; everything the way Donnie usually details and captures on camera is exactly what he did for the style of the movie. This being a comic book adaptation also means alot of wirework and CG which I disliked at first but after multiple viewings, I got used to it and eventually started appreciating the way these were used (nothing like the cheap and amateurish way most HK movies did and does). The participants, of course, is to be credited for as they delivered their action performances; Donnie, Yu Kang (Shibumi), Yan Hua (Stick), Xing Yu (Daemon)... Hell, even Nic and Shawn were impressive and this coming from someone who doesn't think highly of them in general!

Overall, I think more 3D on most of the characters and a more dramatized (without these pointless scenes) plot could've (probably) made DRAGON TIGER GATE a complete winner but for what it is, it's enough to satisfy the more open-minded and less obnoxious (as far as movie material goes) viewers.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 10/05/2008

A combination of a very evil and almost indestructible bad guy, seamless wire work and terrific cinematography outweigh the by-the-numbers story, dull leading characters and clumsy structure in “Dragon Tiger Gate”. Both Shibumi, the iron masked assassin for the Lousha gang and Dragon Wong, the prodigal son who returns to avenge his master, have too much schoolyard braggadocio during their final showdown, with each of them muttering “is that all you got” and motioning the other forward after taking a hit. One imagines that this is an artifact of the film’s serial comic genesis as is much of the computer generated production design.

The movie is set somewhere in China sometime in the 20th century. There are mobile phones that double as MP3 players and other very recently invented devices that contrast with scenes that take place in sets that echo the modernist/brutalist look of Expressionist classics from the 1920s and 1930s. The plot is sketchy enough that it doesn’t need to be summarized—if you have seen a few Hong Kong martial arts movies you know what is happening and what will happen next. The fragile structure is overburdened with flashbacks that are well done in themselves but add little to our understanding of the current relationships among the characters largely because the characters themselves are so pedestrian. The reconciliation of Turbo with Master Wong was just one example (and not even the most egregious) of bland characters doing the expected.

The fights and stunts were creative and very well executed. If this combination of CGI and wire flying is the future of action movies one can only hope they will all be this good—which they haven’t been and won’t, of course. The action direction was good enough so that we gladly suspended our disbelief when Tiger or Dragon Wong hit a stone wall with enough force to crack it but jumped up ready for more of the same.

Both Li Xiao-Ran and Tung Jie are very attractive young actresses, Tung Jie particularly since she plays a plain sisterly type who has a smoldering and unrequited love for Tiger Wong


Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 06/21/2008
Summary: a terrific movie

The hits keep coming from action director/movie star Donnie Yen Ji-Dan and director Wilson Yip Wai-Shun. This comic book-inspired fantasy action film is every bit as compelling as Hollywood's Spider-Man or any other comic book-inspired action movie you can name. If you don't take my word for it, I'll beat you down. [Just kidding. Really.] Dragon Tiger Gate is a terrific movie.

more at happyfortune.org

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 04/11/2008
Summary: Fanciful, but an exciting film...

Dragon Tiger Gate is director Wilson Yip's and Donnie Yen's collaboration based on the best selling "Oriental Heroes" serial comic from Hong Kong's newspapers. It tells the story of two brothers, Dragon Wong (Donnie Yen) and Tiger Wong (Nichoas Tse), who have taken different paths after their martial arts training. Dragon works as an enforcer for Ma Kun (Chen Kuan Tai), a local gangster, while Tiger stays at the Dragon Tiger Gate martial arts school where he helps tutor young fighters. When a fight over an symbolic medallion leads to the destruction of the school and its master (Yuen Wah) nearly killed, the two brothers reunite and with the help of a nunchuck-wielding friend named Turbo (Shawn Yu), decide to go into the depths under the city to bring Shibumi, the cause of the trouble, to justice.

Being a based on a comic, the characters have super-enhanced martial arts fighting skills, almost kin to wuxia abilities, but grounded more in video games than novels. Most of the martial arts are wire-based, but I have to say that not normally a fan of that type, it was some of the most fluid wire-fu I've ever seen. The fights between Donnie Yen and various baddies are incredibly satisfying and well choreographed as Yen once again hits the mark with his action direction. The colors are also vibrant and interesting in the film, again sticking with the comic flavor. There are a couple of underdeveloped love story aspects of the plot between Dragon and his devious former lover (the gorgeous Li Xiao-Ran) and Tiger and a new found friend (Tung Jie), but they are merely distractions to the main draw for the film, the action, which is nearly non-stop. Overall, I enjoyed the film immensely and put tracking down the original comics on my list of things to do.

8/10

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: evirei
Date: 11/26/2006
Summary: Watchable... Entertaining but lack of charisma

Yet another movie adapted from a comic book. This time around is a movie adapted from a famous comic, Dragon Tiger Gate. Yeap, it’s a famous comic that is selling for 35 years.

Everyone who loves to watch the comic is dying hard to see it. Those who never even pay attention or heard of the movie is also going crazy over the movie. Their trailer manage to catch people’s attention and the “I WANT TO SEE” soon become the most frequent word I hear each time I mention the title.

With the 3 good looking Hong Kong actors, it’s like a super duper plus points. It’s been some time since we last saw Nicholas Tse. Yes, as far as my memory goes, the last time I saw him was in The Promise. Donnie Yuen in SPL and Shawn Yue in Infernal Affairs.

Dragon Tiger Gate have a similar to Marvel style opening. With flicks and pages from the comic, the texture and drawing and all… yeah, it just reminds me of Marvel movies opening. Yeah… it’s an obvious opening that lets everyone know it was an adaptation from the famous comic itself. I think the opening was okay except the fact of the font just doesn’t match the opening. But well, that was soon forgiven when the movie starts.

The CG department mixed and match some Hong Kong skyscrapers with digital buildings. Well, I would say it is quite a rare scene in the Hong Kong movie industry. The movie first introduce what and how Dragon Tiger Gate came about. Dragon Tiger Gate is some sort of martial art school where people learn and practice martial arts to protect their loved ones and prevent themselves from being bullied. The founder of Dragon Tiger Gate finally passed away and was left with his two son, elder son Wong Siu Long aka Dragon Wong (Donnie Yen) and youngest son, Wong Siu Fu aka. Tiger Wong (Nicholas Tse). Everything begins when Dragon Wong left Dragon Tiger Gate.

In some misunderstanding circumstances, Tiger Wong got to know Ma Siu Ling (Dong Jie). Ma Siu Ling thought Tiger Wong was her ex-classmate and vice versa. After a long chat, they both notice they got the wrong person. Coincidently, Dragon Wong work for Ma Siu Ling’s dad, Ma Kun (Kuan Tai Chen) who apperently is a mobster.

Right after that Tiger Wong walks in to a restaurant to join his friends, only to notice there is some fight between the two mobster (Ma Kun is one of them). Apperently, a Japanese secret society headed by a formidable villain called Shibumi is the leader of the underground world. Each year, only the mobster that receives a plate from Shibumi will take control of the and do business. Thus, the plate was entrusted to Ma Kun. Ma Kun’s followers were fighting with Tiger Wong downstairs and cause a havoc. The plate was then picked up by Tiger’s friend.

The fighting scene soon start when Tiger Wong fights a group of Ma Kun’s follower. The peak came when he faced his brother Dragon Wong (Tiger Wong didn’t know he was his brother). Obviously Tiger Wong lost but is set free. Dragon Wong then promises Ma Kun that he will get the plate back.

There is where the best fights in the movie come about. The fight in the Japanese restaurant is cool. Dragon Wong got the plate back from Tiger Wong. However one of Ma Kun’s top follower bring a big group of people and try to kill Tiger Wong. Being very angry, Dragon Wong fights with them. Dragon Wong’s 18 Palm was simply amazing. There, Tiger Wong gets to know a new friend Turbo Shek (Shawn Yue). He also gets to know that Dragon Wong is eventually his elder brother.

Turbo Shek then follows Tiger Wong back to Dragon Tiger Gate, hoping that Wong Jing Lung (Yuen Wah) would accept him and allow him to stay in Dragon Tiger Gate. Everything was going just fine until Dragon Wong persuade Ma Kun stop being a mobster.

Shibumi was very angry when Ma Kun decides to return the plate to him and he commanded people to kill Dragon Wong and Ma Kun. Rosa (Xiao Ran Li) was sent to kill Dragon Wong. However she couldn’t do it as she is deeply in love with Dragon Wong. This scene was a little spoiler as the first sentence that came our from Rosa in that scene was “Have you ever do it (sex) in the water?” Argh… what sort of script is this? Since she couldn’t set herself to kill him, she asked him to make a tattoo on her body to dely his time so that he could not save Ma Kun. Being upset and sngry he “palmed” Rosa.

By the time Dragon Wong reaches the baseball court, Ma Kun is dead. Ma Siu Ling was crying badly. There was this big fight again when Dragon Wong decides to kill everyone that came for Ma Kun. He was badly hurt. But amazingly he still manage to carry Ma Siu Ling. I never understand. Ma Siu Ling wasn’t hurt, so why exectly do Dragon Wong needs to carry her? Doesn’t Ma Siu Ling deserve to help carry Dragon Wong instead?

He then carry Ma Siu Ling back to Dragon Tiger Gate. Dragon Wong then disappear and fall in to a big bush. There he have lots of flash back. When he decided to go back, Dragon Tiger Gate was in a big mess. Shibumi just came and tries to challange them. Nicholas Tse has a broken leg and was hurt, Turbo Shek fainted somewhere while Wong Jing Lung died terribly. He was squashed till death by the Dragon Tiger Gate’s signboard.

Wong Jing Lung once told Ma Siu Ling that if anything happens, she will have to carry whoever that is injured and goes to a hill to find a monk to help save them. She did and she manages to save Tiger Wong and Turbo Shek. Meanwhile, Rosa was given a choice to either save herself or Dragon Wong with a medicine from Shibumi. She choose to save Dragon Wong.

The exciting part came when Turbo Shek and Tiger Wong who learnt their special skills in the hill decided to look for Shibumi and seek for revenge. Obviously the fight scenes were cool. However the both of them isn’t Shibumi’s competitor. It’s when not long after that Dragon Wong came in to the scene and saves the day.

The ending of the movie was so predictable and I think a little boring. They could have been done in a better way. Overall, I think the fight scenes were quite good especially Donnie Yen’s stunts. Yeah, I surely have no doubt about it as he is a martial art actor. Some of Nicholas scene were rather fake and slow. Not to even mention it seems as if the villian is waiting for him to finish kicking the others. I mean back in reality, he would have been killed. Villians don’t wait. The storyline was rather weak as there were so many questions about the plot. But the saddest part of all, the director fails to link the emotional section and the action section together properly. Giving this movie lots of loopholes.

One thing for sure, they zoom in too many times to the phones of the users. Yes, it’s as if it’s a nokia ad! Right, maybe they sponsor the movie a bit.. doubt that.. with the amount of zoom in’s i think they sponsor quite a huge amount. It somehow spoils the movie. Everyone in the cinema was laughing each time they zoom in to the phones.

Yeah.. the best part is, I still don’t understand how come Shibumi have so little followers. Most of them were being killed in the baseball court. Rosa died… and no one left. It makes Tiger Wong and Turbo Shek goes ramping in to Shibumi’s place so easily. What kind of villian doesn’t have lots of followers? Argh… it still gets on my nerves!

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 11/01/2006
Summary: Uneven Epic-wannabe

The movie looks and sounds good, but could have used a script boost. Donnie Yen stages some good action scenes, but it was a mistake to cast him in the role he played; he's too old and too dull. Nic Tse cake-walked through this one; I like him, but he put no effort into this movie and the movie's weaker because of it; maybe it was written into his contract that he couldn't show up Donnie. He does a good job in the action scenes, but when he's not fighting he's just standing around making faces (including a rip-off of an expression Vicky Zhao Wei did in "So Close"). Shawn Yue tries to add some life to the party, but his character (Turbo) is not well scripted; he's sort of a dope who thinks he's better than he is with his nunchukas, is shown up to be a loser by Yuen Wah as Master Wong, only to have Master Wong give him a spritz of "Instant Hero" and transform him into the equal of Dragon and Tiger.

The movie might also have been better if they'd tried to develop one love story instead of two; there just wasn't enough time for both, so they're both weak and don't add much to the story.

This isn't the epic extravaganza it wants to be, but it's still worth a watch for the action scenes, with the operative word being "a."

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 10/12/2006

Based on a popular comic book, Dragon Tiger Gate was the "big" movie this past summer in Hong Kong. Like most summer "blockbusters" (especially those based on comics), Dragon Tiger Gate looks great and has a lot of special-effects-enhanced action. But, unfortunately, like most other films of its' type, Dragon Tiger Gate also suffers from a weak story and lackluster acting. But given the anemic state of Hong Kong movies, the enjoyment you get out of Dragon Tiger Gate is a case of being able to be a bit optimistic and looking at the glass as beeing half-full.

The story has two half-brothers who have taken different paths in life. Tiger (Nicholas Tse) dedicates himself to training with his uncle (Yuen Wah) at the Dragon Tiger Gate, while Dragon puts his kung-fu skills to use as a bodyguard for the head of a major crime family (Chen Kuan-Tai). After years of not seeing each other, the brothers meet after Tiger gets into a brawl with some of Dragon's co-horts. Dragon wants nothing to do with Tiger, but after one of Tiger's buddies steal a valuable golden seal, Dragon sets out to find Tiger. Eventually, the two (along with a nunchaku expert named Turbo, played by Shawn Yue) team up to take on the city's biggest boss, a mysterious kung-fu expert named Shibumi.

The first nit-pick I have here is with the casting. Dragon and Tiger are only supposed to be a few years apart, so why is Donnie Yen playing the part of Dragon? Shawn Yue would have made more sense, especially since him and Nicholas Tse actually look somewhat alike. Perhaps Yen is going through a mid-life crisis and needed an ego boost -- certainly a lot of the slow-motion closeups of Donnie and his flowing locks would attest to this. Also, product placement is a given in today's movie market, but Dragon Tiger Gate takes it to new levels. At times, it felt like this was more of a commerical for Nokia phones, rather than a film. Lastly, the movie does go a bit overboard with CGI, especially during the final fight. Which was a shame, because Yen doesn't really need to resort to that kind of gimmickry to create good action sequences.

Still, I did have a pretty good time with Dragon Tiger Gate. This isn't a Wong Kar-Wai or Tsui Hark movie, nor does it ever try to be. Sure, there are some parts where Wilson Yip overstretches his wings, tries to create some real emotion, and falls flat as a result. But I was willing to forgive it for the sake of the action scenes, of which there are a good number that are, for the most part, well-created. It was also nice seeing Yuen Wah in something other than Wong Jing's latest cheapie. Dragon Tiger Gate isn't anything outstanding, but it does do a solid job in providing a brainless "popcorn" movie experience.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Tonic
Date: 09/28/2006

Terrible. I was actually mad after the first ten minutes because it was so poor. I managed to get through the film after taking about four breaks.

Donnie Yen is one of two reasons I could ever recommend this film to anyone. The second is that I thought the aerial view of the restaurant was smart.

The fighting was dull and the wires made me cringe; there's just no talent, apart from Donnie.

Overall a very boring affair, I think Wilson Wip and Donnie Yen have taken a serious step backwards, after the excellent SPL last year.


Oh and it's really obvious when a mobile phone company is your title sponsor.


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 09/03/2006
Summary: Hmmm

What i have read of other reviewers such as this is another movie where Donnie yen just makes the cast look cool, more style over substance, i can see what they mean. Three big action scenes, evenly space from beginning, middle and end.

But the filler (whats happening when they arent fighting) is over the top drama, "you saved me when i was 8 years old, i will love you forever" SORRY but thats just WAY over the top. I guess my other main gripe with this movie is the ending, the bad guy gets beat a bit too easily for my liking!!

I read there will be a sequel, which would be great because i am starved of fighting movies. But compared to the 1980's/1990's, this would of been a average movie at best.I think because of the lack of fighting movies around,
I feel generous giving this movie:

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 07/30/2006
Summary: A ripper

Two in a row for Donnie. More and better action than SPL, DTG is a tonic. Plentiful and furious fu (including some great wire-fu) from a great cast. Is this a throwback to the glory days ? We can only hope ;)

This movie looks and sounds great. It makes the best possible use of widescreen and is very much worth seeing in a cinema.

I have only a few minor quibbles. There is some use of CGI, and the special effects are not always the greatest. Also, there are a few quiet sequences which are a little drawn out.

But don't be put off. This is heart-pumping slam-bang actioner, and one hope it generates quite a few more like it. Highly recommended.

Reviewer Score: 9