2021 / 89m - China
Action, Fantasy
Hong Xiguan: Demon Gate Witch poster


December 20, 2021


There's no lack of Chinese martial arts cinema lately, and their baseline quality has been increasing noticeably. Still, it isn't trivial trying to get a grip on this explosion of films. Demon Gate Witch is a film that clearly references the 90s Hong Kong films, but lacks the spectacular fight choreography and star power to be a true future classic.

Hong Xiguan is the new Wong Fei-Hung it seems. This historical figure is portrayed as a righteous monk with insane martial arts skills, impeccable morals, but less than stellar social skills (especially when it involves ladies). Hong is carrying a treasure map, which makes him an ideal target for wealth-craving bad guys.

The sets and costumes look lush, the cinematography is colorful, and the action scenes are captured with flair. The performances aren't quite there though, the comedy in particular doesn't really translate very well. These films are great filler for fans of the genre. Short, well-paced and beautiful to look at. If only they could make that final step, we'd have a new era of martial arts classics on our hands.