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MOVIE REVIEW: House of Flying Daggers

REVIEW SUMMARY: Stylish martial arts film in the tradition of Hero and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but with several plot twists and a nice love story to boot.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A blind court dancer is jailed, then broken out by a mysterious warrior. Together they flee from the general’s troops to House of Flying Daggers.


PROS: Awesome combat sequences, breath-taking sets, plot twists keep you guessing, nice love story.

CONS: I can think of none.

BOTTOM LINE: Wonderful new-school martial arts romance.

The House of Flying Daggers is a rebel army that steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They send in blind Mei, to a brothel to pose as a dancer for an assassination attempt. Her plan is foiled and she is jailed, but is broken out by the warrior Jin. Together they attempt an escape back to the House of Flying Daggers, but things are not what they seem. Not even close!

As the title suggests, the film features a variety of projectile weapons, mostly daggers. Like the martial artists themselves, these weapons defy gravity and physics, and were generally shot from a camera following the weapon (aka Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.)

There was less flying around by the actors themselves, who relied more on acrobatics and special moves than aeronautics.

The sets were astounding. The scenes, both inside and out, were simply gorgeous, as were the costumes (and I almost never notice costumes in movies.)

Finally, the story does not disappoint. The plot is complex, but not understanding every intricacy of it shouldn’t take away from the enjoyment of the film as a whole.

In summary, I wouldn’t recommend this movie to my wife, even though I think she would enjoy the story, but wouldn’t buy into the fantasy-style martial arts. However, if you enjoy this type of movie even a little bit, you won’t be disappointed by House of Flying Daggers.

4 Comments on MOVIE REVIEW: House of Flying Daggers

  1. No cons, yet only 4 1/2 stars?

  2. This movie is one a handful of films that can be watched in its entirety in forward shuttle, There is such a long gap between subtitles, and they stay on screen for so long, that it’s a real time-saver. Also, alot of the beauty-shots are on screen for waaaaaaay to long.

    An actual transcript of my thoughts near the end of the film:

    “Yes, the snow falling is pretty. Yes, the way it counterpoints the flash of the blades and the spray of blood is artistic. Yes, the prettiness and artistic-ness has been sufficiently conveyed, we can move on now.”

  3. kevin, what’s the deal? your picture links for movies are almost always broken… you can’t use IMDb, they’re bastards that hands out temporary links — let me go fix it for you…

  4. I just watched Hero, another film by the same director, and starring Jet Li. An equally gorgeous film, with a story that reminded me of Kurosawa’s Rashomon, where a story is told from several different points of view.

    This film has a lot of the ‘flying through the air impossibly long’ scenes, which got a little old for me after I saw it in Crouching Tiger, but there are plenty of other surprises to keep the action scenes fresh.

    Overall I give Hero 4 stars, 1/2 star less than I rated House of Flying Daggers because I didn’t think Li’s performance (outside of the action scenes) was very strong.

    But hey, that’s just me. What the @(*#$& do I know?!

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