Movies that are slightly off.
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...
March Across the World Challenge Film #9 - China
For many, not seeing a film like House of Flying Daggers would not be considered strange as I would imagine that even at it's peak of popularity, Chinese wuxia cinema wasn't exactly something embraced by a majority. For me though, after over a decade since its release, the fact that I was finally experiencing this exciting and literally colorful movie seemed hard to believe.
I love wuxia. The style, the surreal action, the melodramatic performances that somehow fit the overall tone perfectly. House of Flying Daggers has it all, and while the lackluster storyline leaves plenty to be desired, the costumes, the set pieces, the vivid usage of color and the…
Zhang Yimou's use of color here is by paralleled in the 21st Century. Each set piece is a separate dance, established in the first scene. It makes the emotion of the love story even more felt given the beauty of the movements, not only in the fight scenes, but also in the conversation and love scenes.
*fixed the error in the beginning of this review where I just wrote "Yimou", which is not Zhang's surname. While it would be cool, I do not know Zhang Yimou personally.
Of course it has a lot of hard to believe and impossible moments in it but this was a fun and entertaining film throughout. Some nice scenery also.
Definitely hold up as a Visual Feast for the Eyes, and has just enough story bind the action together. Welcomely, the first half of the movie doesn't indulge in the story's twistiness and mushiness like the second half does. In fact it moves rather swiftly along until the characters start hemorrhaging love and passionate feelings for each other.
Dazzling film. plot is nothing new, but the visuals more than make up for it.
Is there anything more to life than being really really ridiculously good looking?
The House of Flying Daggers doesn't seem to think so. It has a story that manages to be bland and convoluted at the same time, some fairly cookie cutter characters that even harder to relate to considering how often they lie to each-other and the audience and some really awkward feeling 'sex scenes'.
That being said the film is absolutely gorgeous to look at, and the fight scenes are filmed magnificently, but if you wanted that without the negative aspects of House F.D. then just go and watch Hero.
this is SO PRETTY and also silly and ridiculously convoluted but still, SO PRETTY
1. This movie is just gorgeous.
2. Bamboo battle.
Zhang Yimou's follow up to his 2002 "Hero" is a lesser film in just about every way. It forsakes the grander themes of the earlier movie for a more personal, character-driven story about love and passion that at its best is just silly and at its worst a bit of a snoozer. Yimou's skill does not lie in creating really compelling characters; he should stick with his gorgeous visuals and dance-like fight choreography. Only once--during a scene in an atmospheric bamboo forest--does this movie take flight, figuratively and literally. I have to say for much of the rest of the time I thought it was fairly boring.
As graceful as a ballet and twice as beautiful. But why does all the dialogue in Chinese films sound like it comes from The Big Bumper Book of Cliches and Mild Cringe?
The first 1012 films are from The 1,000 Greatest Films list, and maintain the original order. The films that follow…
Complete list. :-(