House of Flying Daggers
House of Flying Daggers
PG-13 | 19 May 2004 (USA)
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In 9th century China, a corrupt government wages war against a rebel army called the Flying Daggers. A romantic warrior breaks a beautiful rebel out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.


Very very predictable, including the post credit scene !!!

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Good concept, poorly executed.


The tone of this movie is interesting -- the stakes are both dramatic and high, but it's balanced with a lot of fun, tongue and cheek dialogue.

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The movie really just wants to entertain people.

The Movie Diorama

Zhang Yimou really is one of the best directors of this genre (I also recommend you watch Hero). This is a tale of love, betrayal and, again, some damn good swordplay. We follow Mei who is a member of the Flying Daggers, a underground group plotting against the government, who gets arrested until she is freed by a mysterious figure where she soon starts to fall in love. This really was a tragic film. By the end, I was so emotionally invested that the final scenes just killed me inside. Like taking out my heart and stabbing it with a dagger...a flying dagger...*ahem*. Exploring the themes of love, it conveys the lengths we go to be with the one we truly love. Interestingly the majority of this film is actually set in a woods, varied by autumnal trees and bamboo. Both make for some great action scenes, particularly the bamboo forest ambush. Yimou's utilisation of colours creates some visually splendid landscapes, again the bamboo forest uses several shades of green, both in natural aspects and the characters' attire. The production design truly excelled within the Peony Pavilion, where the costume design was also fantastic. The Echo Game scenes were inventive and splendid to watch. Zhang Ziyi, who is one of my favourite Chinese actresses, exhumed elegance, innocence and a sense a badassery. Her choreography was already exquisite, but having to do that without actually looking at the opponent (due to her character being blind) really showcases mastery of the art. The love triangle was beautifully crafted and held a glimpse of tenderness. A few gripes, I found the CGI projectiles to be jarring and too frequent. The story is not as grand as other martial art epics so may not be particularly engaging for everyone. Also the betrayals that are revealed towards the end seemed too convenient and didn't really impact me. However, this is another solid Chinese wuxia flick with a tragic love story that definitely makes you emotionally invested.

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I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge fan of the recent Oscar-winning period movies that have been coming out of Hong Kong – I thought that CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON and HERO were both okay films, well made certainly, but lacking that certain dynamic spark which is needed for a classic film. So it was with some trepidation that I sat down to watch HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, well aware that director Zhang Yimou was also responsible for HERO, and fully expecting to be let down by this film, as well. I was in for a surprise.HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS blew me away. Whereas the two films mentioned previously have seemed false, concerning tired notions of heroism and chivalry, this one concentrates on torrid romance, with many love scenes taking place during the film's running time. This is what is needed to give the film heart and dynamism. Obviously, the excellent technical qualities are what make this such a good film; the CGI effects are excellent, the cinematography is breathtaking, and the fight choreography spellbinding. Director Yimou is first and foremost an artist and it shows; this is the most visually beautiful film I've seen in my life. Each of the major set-pieces has a major colour scheme going on and the camera superbly captures all the nuances. Costumes, sets, and weaponry are vibrant and engaging as well.The acting is excellent. Veteran Andy Lau has the most interesting role, a soldier torn between his duty and the girl he loves. Said girl is played by Ziyi Zhang, who I haven't liked much in her previous films; here she's excellent, and Zimou really captures her fragile beauty and innocence. The other central performer is Takeshi Kaneshiro, familiar from his role in 1997's HERO; here he makes good on his central role in that film – he's great as well.The various fight scenes are all fluid and the wire work is nicely incorporated into the battles, which never seem outlandish or unnecessary as in the films I mentioned at the beginning of this review. There are lots of shots of weapons flying through the air which I liked, and a classic stand-off at the film's climax, which takes place in a snowstorm and reminded me favourably of the climax of THE GOOD, THE BAD AND HTE UGLY; director Zimou is obviously cut from the same cloth as Sergio Leone. Other highlights include the showdown in the bamboo forest and the magnificent echo game which opens the film, and which makes the best use of surround sound I've experienced.

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I saw this movie about ten years ago I was sitting with my daughter and we watched the DVD' and I have to say we were both impressed probably more so with the stunning visual effects. Now I have read some of the reviews and was surprised by some of the negative ones' mostly directed at the actors and their lack of connection' sometimes people just miss the point. This movie was never gonna win anything for acting' its the story and cinematography that drive the movie something that far eastern directors and cinematographers can do better than any other people in the world. If you want an example just watch Titanic' a hundreds of millions of dollars to shot a boat hitting an iceberg while a love triangle unfolds that has nothing to do with the actual story of a piece of history, yet it get Oscars thrown at it. Yet the acting and dialogue, and script were poor, so its just a case of American cinema overrating poor movies and ignoring the real gems.

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House of Flying Daggers revolves around a story where during the Tang Dynasty era, a secret organization called, "The House of Flying Daggers" is being sought after by the Chinese military. It is suspected a blind dancer is believed to have ties to the organization, so it is arranged for an officer to go undercover to befriend her and try to find a way into the organization.The main reasons to watch this movie are the for the beautiful choreographed fight scenes and the set. The fight scenes never feel rushed, and the director chose to film them in a way where you can see the entire battle unfold and enjoy it. The sets are flooded with beautiful colors, which further helps set the tones of the movie and fighting scenes.The only place where I would say the story falters slightly is in the story. The story itself is very entertaining to watch and will keep you committed to the movie when you aren't in awe of the fighting scenes, but at times the story can become predictable.Overall, this is an amazing movie. It will appeal to many different audiences with all that is offered. Fight scenes, romance, visuals, and great film making will keep you into the movie and entertained.

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