Opposite Poles of the Martial Arts Universe

The overlapping genres of wuxia and martial arts has broad scope, and like any sufficiently well-developed cinematic genre it has its fair share of representatives of high art and B-movie absurdity. I’ve had reviews for an example of each in the hopper for a while, and as I burn through my backlog now’s as good a time as any to unleash them.

Dragon Inn

It is 1456 by the Western calendar – the eighth year of the Jingtai Emperor’s reign. The chief eunuch, Zhao (Pai Ying), has managed to politically outmanoeuvre General Yu Qian, who is duly executed, his children sentenced to banishment in the far West of the Empire. Tsao, however, knows better than to leave them alive, and sends his agents to intercept them at Dragon Inn and assassinate them. The assassins duly head to the inn at speed, eliminate most of the staff, and take over the place.

What they don’t count on is the appearance of Xiao Shao Zi (Shih Chun), a wandering martial artist and friend of the innkeeper Wu Ning (Cho Kin) – or, for that matter, for Wu Ning, no slouch himself when it comes to combat, to come back from his business trip unexpectedly. And they really don’t expect the fiery brother-and-sister team of Chu Huei (Polly Kuan) and Chu Chi (Sit Hon), children of one of the General’s best lieutenants, to come looking for the Yu family either! Evading the assassin’s various attempts to poison, shoot, or otherwise eliminate them, Xiao, Wu, and the Chus soon end up working together to rescue the Yu family and foil Tsao’s plans.

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