HK Cinema - 1992

With the release of Swordsman II and Dragon Inn, Tsui Hark pushed the boundaries of period fantasy films nearly over the edge. Dragon Inn was a remake of a King Hu film that is replete with fantasy, action, evil eunuchs, heroes and imperial intrigue. Swordsman II is an attack on the viewer’s visual senses and its fast moving incredibly imaginative images are nearly hypnotic.

Brigitte Lin stars in both films and they are the beginning of a run of films that will forever immortalize her on screen. In Dragon Inn she plays a mysterious swordswoman, but in Swordsman II she creates the unforgettable character of Asia the Invincible. Brigitte plays a powerful male who heads the Sun Moon sect and then castrates himself in order to achieve great powers. Lin is mesmerizing and dominates the screen like few can. She followed this film with other myth making roles in Bride with White Hair, The East is Red (sequel to Swordsman II), Deadful Melody, Fire Dragon and Ashes of Time. In Royal Tramp II, she parodies her characters in an amusing Stephen Chow film.  Finally after completing Chungking Express in 1994 she retired from acting and moved to San Francisco.

Here is an interesting if slightly academic article on Brigitte that was published in Film Comment in 1996.