Bluffer’s guide to… Staying at Dragon Gate Inn
In honour of this week’s release of Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate, the new action film from Jet Li, just in case you plan on checking in…
Dragon Gate Inn? Sounds familiar, is it a chain, like Premier or Travelodge?
Well, it’s not really the sort of place you could imagine Lenny Henry or some Cockney gangster teddy bear staying at. But yes, there have been a few incarnations shown on screen, starting with King Hu’s version in 1967…
Oh, very funny! He’s best known as the director of Touch Of Zen, the film that turned wuxia (or sword-fighting) movies on their head, and was one of the main influences for Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. But you know exactly ‘Hu’ he is…
Then famed Hong Kong New Wave director Tsui Hark produced a version, New Dragon Gate Inn, at the height of Wire Fu in the early 90s. King Hu’s version also turned up playing as part of Tsai Ming-liang’s rather wistful Goodbye, Dragon Inn, about a ghostly last screening at a closing cinema in Taipei.
Now, nearly 20 years on from his last effort, Tsui Hark is at it again with Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, only this time he’s taking the directors chair.
And it’s in 3D!
And it stars Jet Li!
Whoah! So it really will be like being there! So what sort of thing can I expect from my stay?
Well, it’s often a stopping off point for people being escorted this way or that, but just keep an eye on everyone staying there. The guests could be secret police in wait to assassinate the general’s children, rebels or random swordsmen (and women). The innkeeper could be an ex-lieutenant in the General’s army, the staff could brigands who cut up wealthier guests to steal their money and chop them up for the menu specials, or they could be in search of a lost city of treasure.
So watch your back…
Ooooookay, I can’t wait to see the TripAdvisor reviews! Any tips for staying there? Best room, dishes to avoid, should I tip the concierge, is there a loyalty programme, etc?
Well, er, how’s your martial arts?
I’m sure you’ve asked that me before… A bit rusty, actually. So you could say ‘You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave?’
Erm… I think you’re thinking of somewhere else, but as it happens Best Western do have one listed just outside of L.A.’s Chinatown…