House of Flying Daggers (2004)
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Critic Reviews for House of Flying Daggers
A dazzler -- and almost as exciting as its title promises.
One of the most visually astonishing martial-arts fantasies ever made.
About as viscerally and visually exciting as film can get, and yet it is also fully, ripely romantic in a way that few modern films would dare.
As stunning as it is, it also serves notice that House of Flying Daggers will have none of the complexities of Hero.
Zhang proves that Hero was no accident with House of Flying Daggers, another Chinese period piece resplendent with a dazzling palette and soaring, ambitious fight sequences.
An intoxicating cocktail of splendid visuals, spectacular action, state-of-the-art computer-generated imagery and some old-fashioned swashbuckling worthy of Hollywood's Golden Age.
Audience Reviews for House of Flying Daggers
A provincial guardsman goes undercover and breaks a blind swordswoman out of prison to discover the location of a secret society of rebellious assassins. Zhang Yimou's follow up to Hero is a similarly stunning combination of artistic visuals and beautifully choreographed martial arts, but this time he throws an epic story of unrequited love into the mix. The story's format is another favourite of Chinese cinema, that of the undercover cop with divided loyalties, but blended with mythical fantasy and star crossed lovers it plays out almost like The Departed crossed with Romeo And Juliet. This makes for a more complex character dynamic than that of Hero and therefore a more engaging story, although it does suffer similarly to the previous film in that it can feel like the plot is just a series of excuses for yet another visually glorious set piece. For that reason Zhang is probably once again guilty of style over substance, but what style it is. Addendum: I cannot recommend the Blu Ray release as the picture quality is little better than the DVD, which is a real shame considering the sheer visual beauty of the film.
House Of Flying Daggers is an exquisite and pleasant barrage of colors, music, martial arts, history, and culture underlined by romance and mystery. Creative fight choreography. Splendid photography. Artful cinematography.