House of Flying Daggers (2004)



Critic Consensus: The visual splendor of the movie makes up for the weak story.

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Movie Info

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, Rovi
PG-13 (for sequences of stylized martial arts violence, and some sexuality)
Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Drama
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Andy Lau
as Leo
Song Dandan
as Madam Yee
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Critic Reviews for House of Flying Daggers

All Critics (167) | Top Critics (43)

A dazzler -- and almost as exciting as its title promises.

January 14, 2005
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

One of the most visually astonishing martial-arts fantasies ever made.

January 14, 2005
Miami Herald
Top Critic

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.

January 14, 2005
Detroit News
Top Critic

As stunning as it is, it also serves notice that House of Flying Daggers will have none of the complexities of Hero.

Full Review… | January 14, 2005
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

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.

January 13, 2005
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

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.

January 13, 2005
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

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.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


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.

Jan Marc Macababayao
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

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