Chances are you aren't reading this on a 3D IMAX screen. That's a pity. To get the full effect of Tsui Hark's The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate nonstop wuxia action, you should see it in an IMAX theater, in 3D. (For right now, you'll have to settle for the photos and decidedly 2D trailer that we can show you on your computer screen.)
The film, which is a continuation of the story started in the Tsui-produced 1993 epic Dragon Inn (that was a remake of the 1966 Dragon Gate Inn), is the first wuxia film to be shot in 3D. The story follows (try to keep up here) a heroic warrior (Jet Li), a pregnant palace maid (Mavis Fan), a skilled female warrior (Zhou Xun), a wild Tartar princess with a tattooed face (Kwai Lun-mei), a female bandit (Li Yuchun), her mild-mannered tagalong and a look-alike imperial eunuch (both played by Chen Kun). Director Tsui Hark says this was his dream cast. "I got to work with everyone I wanted on this," he tells us. "In movies with a lot of action, it's easy to overlook the characters, but with these actors, they were able to do both."
The various players -- some of them good guys, some of them bad guys and some of them somewhere in between -- meet up at a desert inn just as a huge sand storm is about to blow in. (We won't bother you with the rest of the story details; there are a multitude of plotlines being played out.) Suffice it to say, Jet Li and company kick ass. Flying Swords' gravity-defying wuxia action would be spectacular enough in a 2D film; Tsui's 3D version makes previous releases in the genre seem tame by comparison.
The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate is currently screening at AMC Gulf Pointe 30 11801 South Sam Houston Pkwy East. Showtimes vary. For information, visit the theater's Web site or call 281-464-8801. $12.50 to $15.50.