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House of Flying Daggers (2004) – His Review September 19, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Action, Drama, Movies, Romance.

Almost a euphemism for Snakes on a Plane

Dir. Yimou Zhang
Starring Ziyi Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau
Click for larger poster >>

OK, it’s time for pretty again. And gritty perhaps?

Yes, what us blissfully ignorant westerners will always refer to as Yimou Zhang’s second movie gets a little closer to “realism” than it’s predecessor. The stunts are still wild but plausible, the story is much more down to earth, and the actors actually act full out.

It proudly puts a lot of effort on cinematography and a few key action moments, but the story arc is fulfilling in and of itself which to me makes for a more complete experience. Where Hero had one foot in epic chinese traditions, both in storyline and in storytelling, Flying Daggers focuses on a simple story:

China, the Tang Dynasty era. A would-be political assassin is captured. A young officer of the law frees her, and pretends to woo her while trying to find her guild, the House of Flying Daggers’ secret headquarters. The rest of the story merely nudges you to switch whom you root for, as there are no real heros and villains, just people. Romantic, voyeuristic, judgmental, kind, unpredictable, flip-kicking people.

It’s nothing you will miss not seeing, but definitely something you will be glad you did.

This is His review, you can read Her review here.

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1. House of Flying Daggers (2004) - Her Review « 4eyes - His and Her movie reviews - September 19, 2006

[…] This is Her review, you can read His review here […]

2. Third Opinion - September 20, 2006

We’re really talking about the comparison of three films here, Crouching Tiger, Hero and House of Flying Daggers. Where CTHD certainly was first in the international awareness, it’s clearly the loser. The beautiful love story of Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh is diminished by the annoying young love story of Zhang Ziyi and that other guy. It’s pretty but doesn’t really hit that perfect mark, which both Hero and House does. Hero is a fantastic feast for the eyes, and you almost forget the follow the plot. The plot is great though, but obviously plays second fiddle to the visual.
House then. A simpler, in-the-clear story (you almost don’t have to think at all, which for a Hong Kong film is nigh on fucking fantastic) and through-and-through stunning visuals. But, in the end the story really isn’t that interesting. Some scenes are without any relation to the plot other than a simple reason for cool visuals.
So, I’m voting Hero.

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