The only similarity between this movie and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", is the breathtaking choreography of the aerial combat amongst the bamboo trees. Indeed, the best sequences in "House of Flying Daggers" begin with some quietly and gracefully pirouetting bamboo leaves, falling dramatically towards the lush green forest floor.
Totally different from "Hero" plot wise, the vivid use of color, light and fabric ties the two together, bringing Chinese action movies to an artistic level never before seen on a big or small screen.
Ziyi Zhang as Mei, the blind bombshell, illuminates every frame she's in, proving her capability to carry a major movie on her slim shoulders. Her supporting male leads Takeshi Kaneshiro (Jin) and Andy Lau (Leo) have to work double time just to keep up.
Jin and Leo are Government officers, who are trying to track down the elusive underground rebel group of the title. They suspect that Mei, a blind call girl, can lead them to the rebels' hideout, and decide to use the age old plan of deception and seduction. Handsome ladies man Jin gets the plum assignment of gaining Mei's confidence, and from here, the movie turns unexpectedly into a tempestuous love story, the plot twisting this way and that under the power of love.
There are certainly less fight scenes than "Hero", the love scenes are awkward to say the least, and the movie slows considerably in places, but the combination of Ziyi Zhang, the scenic shots and the sword, bamboo and knife play make it an extremely worthwhile way to spend 119 minutes.