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House of Flying Daggers – Review March 9, 2009

Posted by Cello in Movie Reviews.

I must admit, I am not a big Zhang Yimou fan.  His previous effort ‘Hero‘ really ‘wowed’ me but I went in thinking this was going to be, at best, another ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon‘ knock-off.  I came away from the film very impressed and it captured by big screen love of asian films.

House of Flying Daggers is an incredibly beautiful film. There is a dancing game that involves hitting a circle of drums with overlong sleeves, there’s a fight in a field of wild flowers, and of course, there is the inescapable crossing of swords while flitting around a bamboo forest. Admittedly, I was not quite as captivated by the film’s narrative as I was by its visuals. House of Flying Daggers deals with the fairly standard themes of its genre – loyalty, honor, courage and romantic betrayal.


For the most part, the film is simply entrancing, and the story is very easy to get caught up in. As the tale of a blind rebel princess on the run with a double agent, the film is a resounding, heartfelt success. Takeshi Zang is remarkably charismatic, in the way that only really big stars usually seem to manage, and Ziyi Zang is as always, stunning.

Finally, it becomes clear that all Zhang Yimou really wants to do is stage beautiful death scenes. “Hero” had more than I could count, and he doesn’t hold back here, either. Too bad it all feels generic. It’s impossible to shake the feeling that Zhang Yimou desperately wishes he, not Ang Lee, had made “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Unfortunately, his narrative doesn’t have any of that movie’s zing. If things couldn’t get any worse, the transfer on the Blu-ray release is subpar, though the soundtrack is excellent. Even with all those mishaps, you could be doing a lot worse if you veiwed this piece of cinema. The action is light-years beyond any of the other Asian cinema we’ve been gifted with in recent years, and the cinematography and set pieces every bit as beautiful. House of Flying Daggers is lush and tragic, without becoming completely goofy and overwrought. Slight Recommendation.


1. eResumes4Vips - March 9, 2009

Flying Dangers displayed a symbolism of Freedom versus Bondage. The Heroine’s defiance of established Asian norms coupled with royal dynystalic protocol and ritualism.

Beyond this intellectualism and symbolism, lies a deep and rich yet raw phenomenon. The unbridled passion, eroticism, and yearning between two young lovers.

I’ve come to view Ang Lee as the Premier Emperor of Asian Cinema. –eResumes4Vips

2. sdechantal - March 9, 2009

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I had to stop by and check out yours and I am impressed! I will have to browse around a bit.
I especially like the star ratings – that is perfect! I’ll have to look for something like that.

Thanks for stopping by and as for The Changeling, I don’t think you will be disappointed.


3. Woo - March 10, 2009

Thanks for commenting, I’d love to read a wider range of your reviews and I hope you’re not offended when I say I’m not really into Jap cinema enough to have actually seen the films you have and understand your reviews (I prefer reading reviews after watching).

4. Alisa - March 10, 2009

I’ve actually seen this movie. It was a great movie with a few unexpected twists if I remember correctly. I also remember it to be a visually beautiful movie. I’ve been looking for movie ideas to add to my Nexflix queue. I’ll adding it right now.

5. Heather - July 9, 2009

I have this one sitting on my DVD player next to A Scanner Darkly to watch next. 🙂

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