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House of Flying Daggers (2004)

Cast: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau Tak-wah, Andy Lau, more...
Director: Zhang Yimou
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Action, Drama, Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Hong Kong, China, Martial Arts, Wuxia
Running Time: 119 min.
Languages: English, French, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, French
    see additional details...

Chinese director Zhang Yimou fuses a martial arts action-drama with a tragic romance in this elegant period piece. In the year 859 A.D., as the Tang dynasty is beset by rebellion, Leo (Andy Lau) and Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) are a pair of lawmen who have been given the task of ferreting out the leaders of a revolutionary faction known as the Flying Daggers. Working on a tip that members of the group are working out of a brothel called the Peony Pavilion, Jin arrives there in disguise and is introduced to a beautiful blind dancer named Mei (Zhang Ziyi). After watching Mei's performance following several drinks, Jin drunkenly attempts to have his way with her, and Leo is forced to intervene. After gaining Mei's trust in a game of skill, Leo arrests her and informs her that she'll be tortured if she doesn't tell all she knows about the Flying Daggers. Jin responds by helping Mei break out of prison, but he has an ulterior motive -- by following her, Leo and Jin are certain she'll lead them to the Flying Daggers. However, as he helps the blind girl find her way back home, Jin finds himself falling in love with Mei, and isn't certain if he's willing to betray her again. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Simply beautiful by krisalm March 9, 2006 - 5:28 PM PST
The colors, costumes and sets are exquisitely beautiful without being overdone, the acting is subtle and natural, and the fighting is thrilling, incredibly skilled and artistically surreal. I can see how some thought it was slow and unfulfilling, but I really appreciated the way the plot unfolded naturally rather than being shoved down your throught the way a western style (or westernized kung fu) movie would, making the end feel like the inevitable conclusion of a real journey rather than a contrived "plot". I think this may be the best movie I've ever seen. Oh... and Ziyi Zhang is as gorgeous as ever and Takeshi Kaneshiro is HOT.

House of Flying Daggers by LWoll August 24, 2005 - 11:44 PM PDT
2 out of 7 members found this review helpful
House of Flying Daggers was visually arresting but unfulfilling. It felt long, and the episodes of the plot followed on one another rather perfunctorily.

The cast are all talented and worth the watching, and the costumes and setting are lovely.

Beautiful fairy tale by brakhage June 8, 2005 - 12:05 PM PDT
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Another wonderful wushu (wire-fu) film from the director of Hero. I wasn't ecstatic about Hero, unlike just about everybody else, but I adored this film. You should not expect a deep story, but if you let yourself go, it's a fantastic ride. The cast is devastatingly gorgeous and you can completely understand why it's difficult to keep one's hands off Zhang Ziyi. I was blown away by the fight choreography, the costumes, the natural beauty, the photography ... I have a few nits to pick, though. Doubling - the use of reoccuring events and actions - is a little overdone, and there are some continuity lapses in the final confrontation. In the film's defense, the snowfall on the day of the final scene's shooting was unexpected, and rather than reschedule they decided to just go for it, hence the dodgy CGI seasonal transition. Since the landscape's beauty figures so large in the film, I thought the snow had some poetic justification. A stunner.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.92)
295 Votes
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