Blog Entry

House of Flying Daggers

After reading this post on 出語不俗, I decided to write a post about this highly discussed movie. Before the movie came out in China, the advertisement was intensive and the expectation was high. Since the movie was directed by Yimou Zhang, a well-known director in China, therefore people and reviewers expected the best. Many of his earlier movies were very popular in China, but never made on big screen in US. Only until recently, his movie Hero went on theaters in US because the introduction by Quentin Tarantino.

House of Flying Daggers

After the movie came out, I remember reading viewer reviews on Sina; they were inconsistent, varied from person to person. Many people were greatly disappointed, others praised highly. So the reviews were not very helpful and they were almost confusing. The only way to decide is to watch the film myself. Finally I obtained the DVD from relatives coming back from Shanghai, and watched the movie last week. Now let me just give you my opinion on the movie.

The plot is not very creative, since it seems to be a re-run of 無間道’s plot (I believe the English title is Infernal Affairs, and it will be out around Christmas in US) in Tang Dynasty. But I think it is much easier to follow and less confusing, or maybe because my mind was already trained by the plot of Infernal Affairs. However, the plot did emphasize on a different theme, which is love, love between a man and a woman, regardless from their roles in society or the societal organization that each of them belongs to. Again a widely addressed theme in many literary works, so it is not innovative.

Now overall the film is beautiful, every frame can be served as an artistic painting. Scenery shots are meticulously picked, and characters’ cloths are designed in such color so they either blend in or contrast with their surroundings. Color combinations in this film are poetic and masterful, too beautiful for my eyes. Let’s just say that I am very impressed by the beauty of this film, and in this aspect the film is superb, surpassing all the previous martial-arts movies, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero.

The fighting scenes are also pretty impressive. Many new techniques and different weapons made each fight scene like a dance rather than bloody fighting. Many of the filming angles are fun to watch, like the flying arrow in the air, or the camera traversing together with the flying daggers, or the stones scattering in the air. They all explored new techniques in order to bring more visual entertainment in the traditional Chinese martial-arts movie.

As I said before, the plot still lacked depth and failed to provide any insights other than pure visual entertainment. I would say it is a tragedy beautifully depicted but fails to make a powerful punch on your heart. Nevertheless, I recommend the movie solely because it is too beautiful to miss!

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