Step One: Go to www.random.org.
Step Two: Pick a Number.
Step Three: GET WEIRD!
House of Flying Daggers
In 9th century China, a corrupt government wages war against a rebel army called the Flying Daggers. A romantic warrior breaks a beautiful rebel out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.
A blind showgirl and the undercover agent sent to catch her run away together, pursued by scores of soldiers AND OH MY WORD, WILL YOU LOOK AT THOSE COLOURS, I THINK MY EYES HAVE AN ERECTION. Zhang Yimou's stunning, vivid, extremely green contribution to the wuxia genre is like opium for your optics: beautifully designed and filmed in colours both bold and gentle, vibrant but never garish, its vast widescreen frame filled with an abundance of detail: drums, trees and ribbons all seen as if seen for the first time.
There's also like a story. Zhang Ziyi stars as a blind, dancing prostitute and enthusiastic insurgent - allied to a revolutionary movement called the House of Flying Daggers - who's…
To this day carries the reputation of a CROUCHING TIGER coattail rider, but while it never reaches those emotional heights it's so much more traditionally Shaw, despite its formal modernity and technical advances an immaculate reproduction/homage to King Hu and Li Han-Hsiang. The bamboo forest fight is as good as contemporary wuxia gets.
Wife: Why are you watching House of Flying Daggers again?
Me: It's been awhile since I've seen it. I've watched a lot of martial arts and Hong Kong movies in the last couple of years and I'm curious how it holds up.
Wife: How is it?
Me: Kinda weird. It's so ornate, rococo in costumes and sets and plot and everything. So pretty, but it feels like there's something missing. The plot is so ridiculously convoluted and hard to follow: everyone is lying to everyone else all the time so no one's motivations are ever really clear and even the ostensible conflict of the film, the fight between the rebellious Flying Daggers movement and their Tang Dynasty rulers, is totally…
It's my birthday today. I am 20 years old. Which feels weird. But throughout the day, instead of celebrating, I've been writing an essay about Guillermo Del Toro and in particular Pan's Labyrinth. Not the usual activity one would usually indulge in on their birthday but otherwise it's been a peaceful day and that, in spite of my noisy nephew visiting - shouting and screaming and beating me up is all I really want in general, and also because a birthday is albeit an almost inane celebration, a nice day.
It's a time when oddly, some people say happy birthday and I say thank you and I open gift wrapped presents from my mother (she bought me Under the Skin…
Without a doubt, some striking visuals and impressive action sequences. But, House of Flying Daggers is let down by its paper-thin plot and even less fleshed out central characters.
The film is also guilty at times of being over-repetitious (think, the soldiers throwing swears while chasing them through the trees) and you are just begging for the plot to be moved forward.
Enjoyable for the action and the ending, but fairly sparse otherwise...
Shi mian mai fu (House of Flying Daggers) was for me nothing special. I know it got out before the movie I'm about to mention, but this movie really reminded me of 300. Two different cultures (Chinese and Greek mythology) , but the same kind of style and use of slow-motion. Where 300 is darker, House of Flying Daggers is more colorful.
The choreography in the movie is really, really good, but of course it falls in the category of being very unrealistic, usually I'm not the guy who is really picky about things being far from realistic or not, but I just didn't get that ''wow''-effect. The story itself isn't anything extraordinary either, was just so and so for…
This was poetic and aesthetically pleasing. I love the way sound was used (especially at the beginning of the film). I only wish this had been the set viewing for this week's film studies seminar (the set viewing was Hero, which was good as well, but it didn't move me as much as House of Flying Daggers did).
A beautiful masterpiece of a film.
Ooit, lang lang geleden, was er een Chinese film op canvas. Een eenzame jongen van 14, Arne genaamd, zag deze film en was verliefd op de beelden, de stijl en het verhaal. Maar helaas, zoals dat zo vaak gaat bij puberale dwaze jongens, vergat hij de naam. Enkel de beelden waren op zijn netvlies gebrand. Voor altijd.
Nu, 5 jaar later, probeert Arne de film terug te vinden. Hij waadt zich een weg door de bamboebossen vol Chinese films en hij zoekt. Hij blijft zoeken. Hij zal nooit opgeven.
Update: deze was het niet, maar het was wel leuk. Vooral die scene in het bamboebos. Aangename verrassing. Minpuntje was de audiomontage, die klonk alsof ze tijdens het draaien geen audio hadden opgenomen en alles erna hebben moeten fiksen.
This is the first time I have seen a film of this genre. I am not sure how to categorise it, but it is a fantastical Chinese martial arts film set some time in Chinese history. The same sort of box one would put Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
It is amazingly put together, but one's enjoyment of this film will depend whether you enjoy the fantastical, impossible fight scenes or prefer realism. They are very well put together, and more like ballet than fighting, but they are also very silly and over-the-top. However, for me, once I saw one fight, it felt like I had seen them all and started to find it rather monotonous.
The primary critique I can ascribe to House of Flying Daggers is failing to measure up to Zhang Yimou's previous foray into martial arts, Hero. The subject matter of Flying Daggers isn't nearly as captivating and it eventually delves into melodrama, but one can't deny that it is damn pretty to look at. The brawl in the bamboo forest is easily the highlight of the film, less evocative of cinema and more of a ballet.
House of Flying Daggers transcends visually, crossing fantastical limitations most director's would likely consider preposterous. It doesn't entirely make up for its weak script, but it certainly helps.
Pretty, but forgettable.
Beautiful! This type of scenery and colours you're never going to see in a western movie. The fighting is astounding.
Beautiful Movie with excellent use of colour. Similar to "Hero" but with a more intimate story (23.10.06)
10 years to the day after starting my film diary I returned to the film that started it off. This gorgeous and sumptuous drama holds up well and Zhang Ziyi is captivating as the central heroine of the story. Looking back on it now it feels a little over done and more than a bit melodramatic. The unresolved story between the government forces and the flying daggers was a bit more frustrating this time but I can see others appreciating the ambiguity.
Here's to another 10 years of movies! (23.10.16)
Step One: Go to www.random.org.
Movies that are slightly off.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!