Dragon Tiger Gate (3 stars)


(15) 86mins (Showbox DVD retail/rental)


Based on the popular Manga Oriental Hero and directed by veteran Hong Kong action director Wilson Yip alongside Hong Kong actor and stunt choreographer Donnie Yen, Dragon Tiger Gate is overblown, melodramatic and almost ludicrously kinetic.

The core plot - involving two brothers, Dragon (Yen) and Tiger (Hong Kong pop star Nicholas Tse) who were separated at birth and brought up to follow very different paths - is almost secondary. What really dazzles the imagination here are the lush, occasionally digitally-created sets Yip places his characters in, Yen’s astounding, almost breathless stunt-work and combat scenarios, and the fast cutting technique the director employs, even within talking heads sequences. The almost uniformly beautiful cast adds to the fact that Yip has come close to transferring the fast-paced hyper-reality of the best action comics to the screen. An extras bonus disc includes over two hours of add-ons, including a ‘making-of’ featurette and cast and crew interviews.

(David Pollock)