The Fate of Lee Khan is to the Chinese martial arts movie what Once Upon a Time in the West is to the Italian Western: a brilliant anthology of its genre's theme and styles, yielding an exhilaratingly original vision. It's set in the Yuan Dynasty, when China was under Mongol rule, and centres on the efforts of a band of Chinese patriots (mostly women) to retrieve a map that has fallen into the hands of Mongol baron Lee Khan. A lighthearted exposition (especially witty in its handling of the sexual politics) leads up to a tense stalemate, with the patriots posing as manager and staff of an inn where their enemy is lodging, but unable to follow through their original plan. King Hu's mastery of pace, humour, colour and design makes most other movies around look tatty.
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