Made this on a whim. Words about all the films and more over at The End of Cinema.
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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...
The best asian cinema has to offer
The cinematography, art direction, and visual effects made this a treat to watch. The film is extremely poetic, with many scenes and plot points carrying symbolic value. It felt like an old storybook, complete with fantasy elements and tales of love, danger, betrayal, and escape. The choreography is beautiful—simultaneously conveying a fight and a dance. Feast your eyes on this exquisitely colorful film.
A gorgeous film, if rather tedious. The fight sequences are all well choreographed but rely on the same set-ups (Mei and Jin are surrounded by army swords only to be saved by flying daggers in at least two sequences).
Not as good as I remembered, but still pretty damn good.
So beautiful to look at.
Absolutely gorgeous settings and lyrical fight scenes. I didn't remember the number of scarcely thwarted rapes. The "love" triangle was very clumsily dealt with.
While I don't re-watch this film too often, every time I do I realise how much I absolutely love it. Everything from the performances, the action sequences, the score, the cinematography, its absolutely stunning.
One of my absolute all time favourites for sure!
Ich hatte eine ganze Weile ein Problem mit diesem Film, weil mir nicht klar war, wo er hin will. Der Auftrag, den die beiden ... Polizisten haben, wird am Ende einfach unwichtig und das Haus der fliegenden Messer eben so.
Dank Streaming-Dienst habe ich ihn noch mal sehen können und dieses Mal eine ganz neue Sichtweise auf den Film bekommen. Im Mittelpunkt stehen eben nur die drei Hauptrollen und das Gefühl nur eine Nebenepisode zu einer viel größeren Geschichte zu haben!
Toller Film und ein echt tolle Zhang Ziyi!!! ;)
It's no "Hero" but Zhang Yimou knows how to make a damn fine looking film. I find this one to drag bit in the second act but it's another beautiful wuxia to add to the pile.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…