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

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

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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House of Flying Daggers (2004) – Her Review September 18, 2006

Posted by Eury in Action, Drama, Movies, Romance.
1 comment so far

for only 42.95, not only do you get this fabulous set of daggers...

Dir. Yimou Zhang
Starring Ziyi Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau

In a previous review I wrote about how, now that I had seen Hero, that it was difficult for me not to compare any movies of the same genre with it. Well, this movie is not only of the same genre, it is by the same director: Yimou Zhang.

The story rotates around Mei, a blind girl… although in disguise in the palace as a dancer, she is actually a martial arts expert believed to be the daughter of the recently assassinated leader of the Robin Hood type of gang called the House of Flying Daggers.
Without giving out any spoilers, there is an exquisite dance near the beginning of the film called the Echo Game. It is simply breathtaking. Mei performs a dance with acrobatics worthy of the Cirque du Soleil. Combined with the ryhthm of drums and the dust flying off of them and the flow of her sleeves.. (you’ll understand once you see this, I assure you) the scene is a memorable one.

Not quite as spectacularly shot as Hero, this is still very much eye-candy for anyone who enjoys a visual festival of color and costume. Although the story supposedly is set within a few days, we do see a movement through the seasons, albeit sort of backwards. When they leave the palace, the trees are all in their autumn glory, red, gold and rust. We then enter a sea of very fine bright green.. just as in spring.. and are even witness to a wintery snowstorm.

There are some astounding action sequences in this movie. Again, I will compare it to Hero.. by saying it is not as fantastical.. or magical, but more real and frightening. There were moments where I literally held my hands over my eyes (as if that would really help, huh? ) because it was so intense. Although this movie has incredible action sequences (notably one amazing one in a bamboo forest), the story is a very simple one mainly of a woman and a man and an ex-lover doing what lovers have done through the ages.

Perhaps not a very complex storyline, but such a sight for sore eyes, shouldn’t be missed.

This is Her review, you can read His review here

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Keywords July 26, 2006

Posted by Eury in .
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