Wednesday, January 05, 2005

House of Flying Daggers

Zhang Yimou who came to notice with great movies like "Raise the red latern", "The Story of Qiu Ju". Changed his style with movies like "Not one less" and "The road home". Now again he seems to be changing his style.This is another CTHD inspired movie from him. More or less on the same lines as Hero. This action packed romantic melodrama has some breathtaking photography (Scenic locations and importantly lots of zhang ziyi close ups).

"The House of Flying Daggers" is set in the year is 859AD as China's once flourishing Tang Dynasty is in decline. zhang ziyi plays Mei, a blind courtesan who is suspected as a member of the Flying Daggers, a guerrilla insurgency group fighting the corrupt government. Two local captains, Leo (Lau) and Jin (Kaneshiro) are ordered to capture the new leader and the two hatch an elaborate plan. Captain Jin will pretend to be a lone warrior called Wind and rescue the beautiful, blind revolutionary Mei (Ziyi), from captivity.He will earn her trust and in the pretext of escorting her, will find the secret headquarters of the House of Flying Daggers.

The first half of the movie is pretty straight forward where people are trying to kill mei and wind protecting her. Then the story takes lots of twists and turns, and surprises with the various plots. The movie which starts as an action film ends as a beautiful romantic drama.

There are some great stunts, and did i mention they happened to fight some soldiers near a bamboo forest.Well u can imagine the rest.Even though the stunt is great, it some how gives the CTHD feeling again. As usual the stunts in this movie where shoot in those unique non-gravitational regions of china.

Yimou's choice of color's are stunning. The final fight is worth mentioning. It starts with a panoramic mountain background bathed with yellow sunlight and fall colors.As the fight proceeds the freshly fallen snow covers the entire place changing the whole background to all white.And then there is zhang ziyi. There is a sequence where zhang ziyi is challenged for a dance called "Echo Game". Her constume and the choreography were beautiful on that dance/game.

Overall the movie lacks some strong story line.I just saw Hero and this one is almost on the same style and both of them reminded CTHD . Yimou strongly lacks the sensitivity, feminine and poetic qualities of Ang lee movies. I think he should stick to his old formula and take neo-realistic movies.

Good review. I think House of Flying Daggers was much better than Hero, though both sacrificed plot and character development for cgi and choreography. Eitherway, Zhang Ziyi was simply stunning in the former.
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