King Hu’s film, Dragon Inn, is interesting firstly because it was created once he left Shaw Brothers and moved to Taiwan, which gave King Hu more freedom to experiment further with the wuxia genre. This is also a neat film for that fact that it has been restored, and it does show, but the film also shows its worth for restoration.
Having seen this film after watching Come Drink With Me definitely made me compare the two of his films. This film was obviously given more time to work out the ending, which the other really lacks. I also thought it was interesting that the costume and make up for Xiao (the hero) in this film was very similar to Jade Faced Tiger (the villain) in Come Drink With Me. Although the costume was great for each role, this may have added to the confusion I had in the beginning with trying to distinguish who the good and bad guys are in the film. This was not a huge issue though, as it does add to the suspense of unfolding the story.
This film really did a great job of maintaining the suspense throughout, especially in the end. It did, however, have quite an abrupt ending and wasn’t completely clear what happened – who else died and who didn’t. Another thing I have to point out about the ending is how beautiful the backdrop is with the snowy mountains and close ups of their faces when Xiao is finally about to fight the leader of the bad guys.
A fun fact about this film is that the Minister Yu Qian, who was executed in the beginning of this film for opposing the corrupt men, is based on a real-life historical minister of war. This is very interesting because King Hu’s knowledge and passion for both history and wuxia can both be seen in this film.