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Dragon Tiger Gate(2006)
Tiger Wong is a highly skilled martial artist with a strong sense of justice. While eating at a floating restaurant, he chances upon a bully. Unable to stand by and watch him terrorize the victims he defeats the bully using his special move - Dragon Slaying Leg Eighteen. At the same time, he unwittingly grabs a gold medal. It turns out that this gold medal is the Lousha Death Plaque given by the leader of the Lousha Gate, Shibumi. Whoever owns the gold medal has the power 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.
For more about Dragon Tiger Gate and the Dragon Tiger Gate Blu-ray release, see Dragon Tiger Gate Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on December 26, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Directors: Donnie Yen, Wilson Yip
Writer: Edmond Wong
Starring: Donnie Yen, Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yue, Dong Jie, Li Xiao-ran
» See full cast & crew
Dragon Tiger Gate Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, December 26, 2008
Adapted by a famous manga-book, stylishly-photographed, and packed with enough kung-fu stunts to keep action junkies on the edge of their seats Wilson Yup's "Dragon Tiger Gate" (2006) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of US-based distributors Tai Seng Entertainment. The film's storyline isn't overly original but the heavy emphasis on CGI, and an impressive appearance by martial arts guru Donnie Yen, provide a look that is truly impossible to resist.
Two brothers, Dragon (Donnie Yen) and Tiger (Nicholas Tse), find themselves backing two rivaling camps in Hong Kong. Tiger is in the good camp. He is respectful, willing to help, and hoping to reunite with Dragon. Tiger's brother, however, is serving Ma Kun (Chen Kuan-tai), a man with a network of drug dealers.
After a series of interesting twists and a teary reunion the two brothers confront the mighty Shibumi (Yu Kang), leader of a powerful triad whose members have assassinated Ma Kun. Dragon and Tiger are also joined by Turbo (Shawn Yue), an ambitious nunjaku fighter, who has arrived in town to enroll in the prestigious martial arts school Dragon Tiger Gate. The three challenge Shibumi after he kills the school's headmaster.
The recipe for success in Dragon Tiger Gate is simple – mind-boggling CGI effects, action galore, and an editing that will surely force many in Hollywood to twist uncomfortably in their sleep. Obviously, this film was scripted as a visual-extravaganza and every single frame of it demands to be recognized as such. Unsurprisingly, its story is simple and very easy to follow as not to detract from what is of importance.
The main characters are likable but admittedly too exotic looking. Granted with weird hair styles Tiger, Dragon, and Turbo look more like poster boys for large designer companies than kung-fu fighters with formidable skills. Ironically enough, they are also dressed with large baggy pants one is likely to see amongst trendy skateboardists.
The action, however, is top-notch. It is flashy, expertly captured by multiple cameras, and enhanced with colorful sounds (I am unsure if there is a sound theme each character is intentionally awarded with but it certainly appears so). More importantly, aging star Donnie Yen is in full force delivering an enormous amount of kicks and jabs that will surely warm the hearts of his hardcore fans.
The heavy use of CGI is also impressive. Large portions of Dragon Tiger Gate look as if taken directly from a 3D game and especially during the finale the visuals are staggering. The blending of real actors with CGI material is very stylish, and if not for the overly simplistic storyline Dragon Tiger Gate could have been an unforgettable ride.
Finally, the film benefits from a catchy crossover soundtrack by Japanese experimentalist Kenji Kawai whose simple, yet entrancing, tunes further compliment the unorthodox imagery. Kenji Kawai has also contributed to the equally appealing, and somewhat controversial, project Avalon (2001), directed by Mamoru Oshii.
Dragon Tiger Gate Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC, and granted a 1080p transfer Dragon Tiger Gate arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of US-based Tai Seng Entertainment.
This is one incredibly strong-looking Blu-ray disc. The color-scheme is lush and thoroughly convincing. Reds, blues, yellows, and blacks are blended to perfection in a mesmerizing collage of overflowing colors where CGI effects counter nicely the abundance of live action scenes. Furthermore, detail and clarity are near perfect. Even during some of the darker scenes (and there are quite a few of them towards the end of the film) detail is very impressive. On the other hand, DNR manipulation is not an issue of concern here either. I also did not detect any disturbing patterns of edge-enhancement or macroblocking. This being said, the quality of the actual print is near flawless – I did not spot any debris, specs, or damage. To sum it all up, Dragon Tiger Gate looks terrific and, as far as I am concerned, comes very closely to being on par with Tai Seng's fantastic looking Perhaps Love. (Note: Even thought this Blu-ray disc is marketed as being Region-A, it is in fact Region-Free).
Dragon Tiger Gate Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are all sorts of different audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: Cantonese: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Cantonese: Dolby True HD 7.1, Mandarin: Dolby Digital EX 6.1, English: Dolby Digital EX 6.1, and Vietnamese: Mono 2.0. I opted for the DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix and later on did selective comparisons with the Dolby True HD 7.1 mix and the English dub. Well, to make a long story short, the DTS-HD MA 7.1 track is of near reference quality. It is incredibly potent, with an enormous amount of activity in the rear channels, and a truly powerful bass that will test the muscle of your audio set up. Furthermore, given the abundance of fight scenes in Dragon Tiger Gate, some of which are rather prolonged, you could run as many comparisons with the Dolby True HD 7.1 mix as you like. Suffice to say, the DTS-HD MA 7.1 track sounds crystal clear, very tight, and at times is so aggressive that it comes dangerously close to overdoing everything a perfect audio mix is meant to deliver. On the more subtle side of things, dialog is exceptionally easy to follow while the supporting music soundtrack blends with it rather well. Balance is generally well handled (perhaps excluding a few of the action scenes where as I mentioned above the DTS-HD MA 7.1 track was a little too aggressive for my taste) and I did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, or hissing either. This being said, the few comparisons I did between the DTS-HD MA 7.1 and the Dolby True HD 7.1 tracks revealed that the two are practically identical. However, particularly during the final scene, where the decisive fight is, the DTS-HD MA 7.1 clearly sounds much louder and fuller. So, I had to readjust the volume on my system to accurately compare the two tracks. Aside from the slightly more potent sound the DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix delivers, and specifically as far as the bass is concerned, I think it is fare to say that the Dolby True HD 7.1 mix is nearly identical. Finally, I wish to note that I noticed a few minor issues with the English translation – misspellings and syntax errors. These were truly minor, however, and I don't think that you will be overly upset by their presence.
Dragon Tiger Gate Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
In addition to a gallery of trailers, teasers, and TV spots for the main feature on this Blu-ray disc you will also find a "Making Of" broken down into eight featurettes plus a "special" one - Dragon Tiger Gate, Japanese Restaurant, Lousha Gate, Floating Restaurant, Pre-Production, Shooting Diary 1, Shooting Diary 2, Shooting Diary 3, Making of. Each featurette is subtitled in English, traditional Chinese, and simplified Chinese. Next is gallery of interviews with Donnie Yen, Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yue, and Wilson Yup Wai Shun. I strongly recommend that you take a look at these interviews if you liked Dragon Tiger Gate as the each of the interviewees offers plenty in regard to the history of the project, how it was adapted from the manga-book, etc. Next is a section with deleted scenes and a photo gallery. An audio commentary with Tai Seng's Frank Djeng, Hong Kong icon Bay Logan, and Jeff Rogan has also found its way on this disc. Finally, there is a short segment titled "Cannes Night & Hong Kong Premiere Highlights". The US theatrical trailer is added up as well.
Dragon Tiger Gate Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I would be lying to you if I said that I wasn't impressed with the stylish visuals in Dragon Tiger Gate. The CGI bits are effectively blended with the live action, and there were moments in this film where I truly wasn't concerned with its story. The Blu-ray disc, courtesy of Tai Seng Entertainment, is of very good quality. If what Dragon Tiger Blade offers is what you like seeing in cinema, do not hesitate at all, grab this disc as soon as possible. Recommended.
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Dragon Tiger Gate Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Dragon Tiger Gate Coming to Blu-ray - February 27, 2008
Tai Seng Entertainment has announced that they will bring the Hong Kong martial arts film 'Dragon Tiger Gate' to Blu-ray on May 27th. Specs include a 7.1 Cantonese track, as well as 5.1 Mandarin and English tracks. Extras include an audio commentary, multiple featurettes, ...
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