Monday, 21 September 2020
House of Flying Daggers
Sunday, 30 January 2005 17:45

Hot on the heels of the American release of "Hero", comes another opulent tale of China. Directed by Yimou Zhang, "House of Flying Daggers" is a story of love, and betrayal during the fall of the Tang Dynasty.

Working in a brothel, the blind dancer Mei (Ziyi Zhang) is suspected of being heavily involved with a secret rebel organization called "The House of Flying Daggers". Two suspecting police officers, Leo (Andy Lau) and Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro), decide to set a trap for the Mei, and have her arrested. A jail break is staged, with Jin under cover as her rescuer. The plan is to seduce Mei and win her trust as she leads him back to the hideout of the Flying Daggers. Of course, things never go as planned!

Like it's Mandarin predecessors "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Hero", this film plays out like an opera, but on a more intimate level. Here we see a love story that evolves as much as the characters do.

Because the story always kept my interest, it serves very well to roll the movie along from one super-cool action scene to another. The first and most unique of these takes place in The Peony Pavilion, the brothel where Mei works. Officer Leo challenges her to "The Echo Game" where Mei must echo the drum beats using the weighted sleeves of her flowing gown. An equally impressive scene takes place in a bamboo grove. Attackers use the trees both as cover, and weapons. The sound of the wind in the bamboo shoots provides a lush natural soundtrack.

In contrast to the choreographed wire fighting during most of the film, the last battle scene becomes increasingly brutal. I loved how you could feel the passion of the fighters as they resort to crude weapons and even fists. But I don't want to give anything away!

Another stunning import, with breathtaking visuals! Visuals that I would have to say include the entire cast! Everyone in the film is stunningly attractive. Paired together, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Ziyi Zhang make a duo that is so ravishingly gorgeous how could they NOT have chemistry! I'm hoping that we will see a lot more of Takeshi in future films.

If you've enjoyed the exposure to Chinese cinema we have had so far, you will definitely enjoy "House of Flying Daggers"!