I just got back in from viewing Yimou Zhang's House
of Flying Daggers, starring Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau, and Ziyi Zhang
[the Asian chick from Rush Hour 2]. First off, I am a little disappointed
that House of Flying Daggers is not a top ten viewed movie currently
on this site. I expect this is due to the fact that there are still those
that have a phobia of sub-titles in a film; even if the film is really good.
Mei [Ziyi Zhang] learns that bamboo can make an extraordinary weapon.
House of Flying Daggers
The entire story is about a rebellious alliance called the House of Flying
Daggers. The government has gone corrupt, and this alliance serves to rise
up against this government. A pretty cool idea as the film begins with the
viewer being introduced to Jin and Leo, two soldiers [police] in the services
of the corrupt government. Jin is the county captain who is responsible
for the assassination of the head of the Flying Daggers some time back.
Now, the alliance has found a new leader, one that the government wants
Jin to seek out and kill. The first clue to this new leader? A local brothel
that features a new, and blind, girl dancer with amazing dancing abilities.
Jin decides to go undercover and visit the brothel to check out this new
Soon after arriving at the brothel, Jin forgets to watch his Sake intake
and tries to make a move on the blind dancer named Mei. Being drunk, lets
just say Jin was a little more than aggressive and had to be replaced by
the next in command, Leo. Leo tests the girl dancer with what is called
the 'Echo Game.' She passes this 'Game', but soon reveals her identity as
she tries to assassinate Leo. There is some fighting, and next thing you
know Mei is in jail. Leo and Jin figure her to be the daughter of the last
ruler of the House of Flying Daggers, as it is known that this girl is also
blind. They soon contrive some scheme to have Jin fake rescue Mei to seduce
her into leading him right to the new leader of the Flying Daggers; as Jin
is one stud-ly soldier known for his ability to seduce the ladies.
Bamboo prison with Jin
After the rescue, begins the adventure that lasts almost the entire film.
As Jin travels with Mei, they encounter various opposition by the General's
soldiers who do not know that Jin is playing undercover [we learn that this
General is definitely a bad guy]. Basically, Jin is forced to kill his own
troops. However, even though Jin set out to seduce Mei, he begins to fall
for her; causing him to kill the soldiers more to protect her than to protect
his identity and do his duty. After some time, and a few rescues, Mei begins
to fall for Jin as well.
I cannot go into further depth without handing out spoilers, as there are
some pretty nice twists in the film. While the twists were good enough to
impress, I also thought they hurt the movie as it was hard to be moved by
some of the scenes that should have been 'moving.' We soon learn of a love
triangle that leaves you kind of dry on where Mei's love actually lies,
at least up until the end of the film. Talk about the blue balls she left
these guys with.
If you liked the fighting in Hero, you should love the fighting in
House of Flying Daggers. The title should give you the biggest
picture-- the daggers do go flying, a lot. Among weapons used are swords,
bow staff, bow & arrow, daggers, sticks, and bamboo. Each weapon also
has its own personality that was cool. You will witness some of the best
cinematography in the film when a dagger, or arrow, goes sailing; real cool
stuff. The camera will chase items such as these up until they make brutal
contact with their target. The only thing that may bother some viewers about
the flying daggers is that the weapon pulls off some unrealistic feats such
as making sudden turns and hooks. However, the weapon is so damn cool, and
brutal, that you should be begging for more use of it.
Bamboo has never been so hot
When it comes to action in House of Flying Daggers, you should
have no shortage of it. The main adventure is almost entirely action/fighting
with small pauses to build on Jin and Mei's relationship and story. I first
heard complaints that the love story takes too long, I did not find this
to be the case. I felt Yimou Zhang did his best to quickly navigate the
love story and get on with the movie; at least in the case of love scenes.
There are some scenes that I thought were cool, but a little drawn out.
One such example is the dance scene featuring the introduction of Mei. This
scene is probably the most dragged out in the film, which is fine considering
it occurs at the beginning and does not affect the pace afterwards.
Saying that, here is my biggest hitch with the film: the ending. I encountered
two problems here, problems that cost this film half a point. First, the
love story goes into full swing at the end of the film, causing giant pauses
and skips in the action. The film starts with a drawn out scene and then
ends on one. The next problem is that the film tells us that a huge battle
is brewing, a battle we see soon to begin about ten minutes before the end
of the film. How does this battle turn out? I don't know, as the film never
returns to it, ever. I do not know if Yimou Zhang ran out of money or wanted
to keep the story more on the lovers rather than the opposing factions they
represent. But I was hoping for something huge! If they weren't going to
show the battle, they should have never showed the soldiers closing in on
the Flying Daggers.
I mean this in all the best ways. First, you can tell that a lot of work
had gone into creating this film in finding the perfect mix between beauty
and brutality. Second, for those of you who have seen Hero, remember
the scene where the two lovers end up killing one another over their love.
That is some damn tough love, the same type of love also exists in House
of Flying Daggers. While this type of love is moving for some, it just
doesn't do it for me. However, to not be too harsh, the love between Jin
and Mei is wonderfully acted and very convincing.
See Flying Daggers
In the end, you should go see this film. It offers tons of cool fighting
action with an interesting story and great cinematography to boot. Also,
I am not really into all that flying fighting that exists in films such
as Hero and Crouching Tiger. While House of Flying
Daggers does have some wire fighting, it does not have people continuously
floating around while they battle one another; which was a relief to me.
The only time people seemed to fly is when the soldiers took pursuit of
Jin and Mei along the canopies of the bamboo forest. Other than that, this
fighting is easily as good as, if not better, than that of Hero;
and without the flying.
The love triangle comes full circle
Final Judgment: If you ever wondered what would happen if the films
Hero and Romeo & Juliet were to have a baby, out
would come House of Flying Daggers. We meet two lovers who are
each one of the highest representatives of their opposing factions; factions
they must leave behind for their love to last. The adventure between the
two allows us to see some of the coolest martial arts to hit the big screen
and entertain us with bamboo, swords, arrows, and last, but not least...
To check out the trailer and view more movie info, go to the
House of Flying Daggers Movie Page