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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty of the natural scenery of China meets love and lust
The film was shot amazingly: I must first say that I was so impressed by the colour set up; the trees in the woods, the bamboo, the fields - it almost had a sense of England in the autumn. The storyline was brilliant, although a little confusing and full of twists - it all fell in place with a perfectly suited ending. The dancing in the beginning was choreographed to the...
Published on 23 Jun 2005

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ......" if I die under a skirt, I can still flirt as a ghost "......
House of flying daggers is a Chinese film about a member of an anti establishment group. She is caught by the local police force and then used at bait to help track the whereabouts of the group's chief headquarters. Complications arise during the journey which results in a deadly love triangle.........

This film is almost poetry in motion and has the effects...
Published on 4 April 2010 by Current Account


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ......" if I die under a skirt, I can still flirt as a ghost "......, 4 April 2010
House of flying daggers is a Chinese film about a member of an anti establishment group. She is caught by the local police force and then used at bait to help track the whereabouts of the group's chief headquarters. Complications arise during the journey which results in a deadly love triangle.........

This film is almost poetry in motion and has the effects of a Beijing Opera show mixed with Chinese herbal medicine. Visually refreshing, and very calming, the premise is simple to follow. This is because it's an old fashioned love story; the complicated part is the mind frame of the lead cast. However the film is ultimately about colour; the main colour is green and large selections of other pastel colours are also utilised.

The main driving force of the film are the many twists and turns and fighting sequences. The real winner is the well choreographed action, with the bamboo (featured heavily) fighting scene being absolutely breathtaking and the highlight of the film. Having said that it is still somewhat of a sparse film, but meant to be this way. Even though not on the same level, it's beauty can be compared to that of Hero.

The acting is impressive and further proves the rise of quality oriental cinema. We have become accustomed to the face of Ziyi Zhang (Rush Hour II, Hero) but the real standout is the performance of Takeshi Kaneshiro as Jin. His intensity and deliverance of dialogue is fitting to the role and carries most parts of the movie.

The ending is ambiguous and raises more questions than answers and this may perplex some viewers. However, we must bear in mind that it is meant to be artistic, with its fair share of abstract messages. Not as good as Hero but in the same league as Curse of the Golden Flower, House of Flying Daggers is a solid addition to a trilogy made by an ever creative director.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great package, 14 Oct 2005
By 
Michael K (London, England) - See all my reviews
I won't spend time going over aspects of this film (see the many DVD reviews for that), but what kind of package is offered for this UMD?
Unfortunately there have been some UMD films (most notably Akira) which have disappointed due to poor transfer or complete lack of extra features.
This releases rises far above this - the picture quality is absolutely superb - a testament to the UMD and PSP screen quality; if ever there was a way to convince sceptics about the PSP's suitability a portable film device this is it!
But in addition to the film (which is one of my favourite Eastern releases of recent years) there is a very well made documentary about the making of this film (unfortunately this is presented in 4:3 aspect ratio - yet the picture clarity is still as good as the main feature).
I hope this UMD release will be the first of many more that won't treat PSP owners as the poor DVD cousin of the film world. I've got a long train journey to make later on this month - and this will keep me occupied on it!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry in motion..., 7 May 2006
"House of Flying Daggers" brings you a wonderful tale you can delight in, and the opportunity to watch a movie where the use of color is so impressive that it is almost surreal, poetry in motion. Notwithstanding that, I think that you probably won't like this film unless you are prepared to suspend your disbelief at least for 119 minutes, the duration of this movie. Personally, I did exactly that, and I don't regret it at all :)

The story is set in 859 AD, when a corrupt dynasty held power in China. There is an organization called "House of Flying Daggers" that is trying to change things, but the government won't allow that. Two officers, Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) and Leo (Andy Lau) are ordered to stop the rebels, and so they devise a plan to infiltrate the "House of Flying Daggers". They capture Mei (Zhang Ziyi), the blind daughter of the previous leader of the revolt, who had been posing as a courtesan. Jin rescues Mei from the jail, and tries to convince her that he would like to join the rebels, when in truth his objective is to destroy the "House of Flying Daggers". But even if everything started as a plan, will Jin be able to remember Leo's advice, "Don't fall in love for real"?.

I want to point out that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The story was great, with enough twists to keep you entertained, and plenty of outstanding fighting scenes. Chinese director Zhang Yimou made such a great use of the elements at his disposition (great actors + inspiration + music + choreography + use of colors) that many sequences seem directly out of a dream, and the spectator feels as if he were bearing witness to a real story that happened a long time ago. In a word, the results are impressive... Watch "House of Flying Daggers", and decide whether you share my opinion :)

Belen Alcat
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visually Stunning, 12 Oct 2005
This is an excellent film, as one would expect from the producer of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Not only do you get superbly choreographed fight scenes but the plotline is also of a high standard, which isn't always the way with films of this genre.
The cast could not have fitted the parts better, they are so believable in everyway that you feel for/with them at every juncture. Being careful here not to include any spoilers but as the film unfolds more is revealed of the characters adding depth and intrigue ensuring you are captivated to the last minutes.
The scenery and colours used within this film are stunning and add an extra level of detail to the film that certainly puts it up their with the very best visually.
One area of caution is this DVD is English subtitled and the only audio is Chinese. To me this adds to the film as to dub it over would be a disaster loosing much of the emotion. If you do not usually like subtitled movies persevere as after a few minutes you are drawn into the film and do not even notice you are reading subtitles.
Five Stars as this film is truely an artform and should be seen if only for the visuals but when you add to it a great cast and good quality storyline it the becomes a must see.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A landmark in Eastern cinema, 28 Feb 2006
The House of Flying Daggers is set in 829 AD. Its is a time where the current 'Tang' Dynasty government is corrupt and a rebellion raises up to topple their regime. However, the story soon turns to the two main characters (Mei and Jin) as they travel to find the rebels base. There are many twists and turns in this story which keep you on the edge of your seat, never knowing what will happen next.
Not only is the story intrigueing, the setting of the film are visually beautiful, along with the perfectly chereographed fight scenes and amazing special effects its a pleasure to watch and truly some of the most magnificent fight scenes ever are produced.
The film however is in Chinese, which is not such a bad thing because it adds to the authenticity of the time and there is not a great amount of dialogue, which means you are not sat reading the subtitles instead keeping up with the actual film.
The film takes another turn to be a three way love story, with the climax being a brilliant battle between the two warriors fighting for a womens love.
Overall an outstanding film, with something for everyone in it.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how to make a film, 1 Mar 2005
If you were disappointed a little with Hero, dont let that put you off this movie. I feel Zhang Yimou learnt a lot from Hero, and with House Of Flying Daggers has got to grips with exactly how to make this kind of film.
The 3 main actors are amazing. Just watching Zang Zhiyi perform her dance at the beginning of the film is beauty personified. Total grace yet sudden amazing movements showing hints of her deadly hidden abilities.
Andy Lau, one of my favourite actors, is on top form once again. Starting of as the cool calm senior policeman, then gradually revealing a more darker side as the plot changes.
And Takashi Kaneshiro is perfect as the younger officer, eager to do the job, kind of cocky (not in an annoying Hollywood way though) and like any man unable to resist falling for the gorgeous Zhiyi.
Theres a few little twists, most of which people will say "well that was obvious" but it doesnt matter. This is a truly beautiful film, amazing acting, great fight scenes and ends the only way a Hong Kong movie of this genre could.
I like to compare films to give people some idea what to expect, but I cant really compare this to anything else. It is a martial arts, love story, thriller. Theres a bit of everything in there and for me it all works well.
I went with my girlfriend to see this and she loved it, and was crying when we came out, so theres something in there to keep anyone interested. Unless you enjoy movies like Armageddon, Pearl Harbour and Independence day, I'd suggest giving this a go.
Ive been into Oriental movies now for about a year, the best piece of advise I can give is if its your first experience, persevere with the subtitles. When these films are dubbed you lose 90% of the films emotion and integrity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, but poor ending, 29 Aug 2006
Undoubtedly a visual masterpiece, HoFD also hits all the marks in terms of originality and suspenseful plot development. The visual effects are at times breathtaking, particularly in the forest action scenes near the end of the movie. Brilliant visuals on their own though do not produce a great film, but fortunately at no point is the plot predictable, and the major twists make you look at everything that went before in a whole new way.

Unfortunately the ending is an absolute turkey. This is doubly disappointing because everything was seemingly bubbling to a brilliant climax. It really feels like the writers had no idea how to bring it to an end so just fobbed us off with a drawn out and daft fight scene.

Despite this it's still a film worth seeing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Veritable Spectacle, 24 Jun 2007
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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The second of Zhang Yimou's trilogy of martial arts films set in historical Chinese periods, "House of Flying Daggers" is the most intimate of the three. This is because it does not rely on large set-piece battles, nor is there a grand historical sweep lying behind the action. Instead we have a three-way love story between the dancer-cum-assassin, played by the ever-beautiful Zhang Ziyi, and her two suitors, captains in the local militia played by the handsome Andy Lau and the striking Takeshi Kaneshiro. Both men learn of the other's love for Zhang Ziyi's character as the film progresses, as they all battle against the forces of the region's government, the two men eventually battling each other in a wonderful snow scene for the love of Zhang Ziyi.

There is a common link, though, between "House of Flying Daggers" and Zhang Yimou's other films in the trilogy, "Hero" and "Curse of the Golden Flower". The key words are `colour' and `spectacle'. Yimou is famed for his stunning use of colour in his films. "House of Flying Daggers" is no different, although the choice of colours in this film has produced a more muted show. Since most of the action takes place in the open, we have gorgeous greens, blues, silvers and browns, many of which are enhanced by the choice of amazing locations: silver birch woods, bamboo groves, grass meadows. As mentioned above, the element of spectacle is more intimate in this film but no less stunning. The choreography of the fights and the use of weapons unleashed from a distance are rightfully praised. Zhang Yimou openly admits in the accompanying commentary to his homage to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", but in his own movies he increases the `wow' factor to new levels.

The two disc version includes the commentary with the director and Zhang Ziyi, as well as interesting documentaries about the making of the movie and other usual features such as galleries and biographies and trailers. The commentary is interesting, for we learn how Takeshi Kaneshiro seriously damaged a leg in a riding accident whilst making the film (hence the adoption of certain poses) and how it was more a matter of luck than design that winter (thankfully) came early to the shoot in the meadow: it was not originally meant to be a snow scene. It was a shame that the many seeds of wild flowers sown the year before did not produce the meadow full of colours that he intended, but the amazing photography involving the silver birches in the forest is a scene I will always remember.

This is the most human martial arts film I have seen and is to be warmly recommended as an outstanding example of successful cross-genre films I know. It has action, it has love, it has beautiful costumes, cinematography and music. It fully lives up to the time-worn adjective `spectacular'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking visuals, negligible plot, 29 Dec 2006
By 
Mr. Stephen Kennedy "skenn1701a" (Doha, Qatar) - See all my reviews
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As he did before in `Hero', Zhang Yimou delivers a film of staggeringly beautiful and strikingly memorable visuals. Newcomers to this genre of Chinese movies should be warned - the action scenes use wires and effects to create a heightened reality - this is not supposed to be realistic, but mythological in nature, much as they were in `Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'. Once you accept this premise however, this film has everything going for it. Ziyi Zhang is suitably enigmatically beautiful for her key role. She is the suspected member of the titular House, a group who defy the ruling dynasty. A young captain is sent to befriend her in order to locate the rebel's leader. On the journey, his feigned love to win her affections becomes less and less acted as he begins to question what he is doing. However, all is certainly not as it seems, and plenty of twists and revelations ensue.

OK, the plot is a little hokey, but it is a fable rather than an historical film, and works well with the imagery. We are treated to stunning primary colours both through nature (white snow, silver birch trees, green bamboos), the sets and the costumes - all brought magnificently together through the cinematography.

Two scenes stand out - neither are realistic action scenes, but both thoroughly memorable visual and audio delights (DTS soundtrack is recommended if you can). The first is the echo game.. the blind dancer stands in a circle of drums, and the young captain throws pebbles at the drums to which she must respond using her long cloak to strike the drums in the same order - it is a simple concept but sublime in the execution. The second is the now famous bamboo forest scene. This is a staple of these sorts of movie in its native China, and the director felt compelled to include a bamboo forest scene. But the style, colours and sound of the swishing branches creates an entirely original yet breathtaking sequence.

The music has toned down the typical Chinese sounds to create a soundtrack friendly to Western ears, and yet still maintaining Chinese character. Clearly the movie has been tailored for the international audience which makes some elements seem a tad contrived, especially next to its very slightly superior `Hero' counterpart. However, the fact is it has worked. If you can put aside the fantastic elements which take you out of reality, and let yourself be drawn into another world, then this movie experience will be richly rewarding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Star-crossed lovers dodge sharp, pointy objects, 27 Dec 2005
By 
Amazon Customer (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS is one of those movies that, if you sit in the front row and are high on a controlled substance, the visual presentation will go from being simply spectacular to "Far out, dude!" (Just so you know, I was in the theater balcony and cold sober.)
The film is set in pre-communist China when the weapon of choice remains the sword. At this time, the "establishment" is threatened by the House of Flying Daggers, an organization of outlaws ostensibly dedicated to robbing from the rich and giving to the poor - an Asiatic version of Robin Hood's Band of Merry Men. Two police officers, Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) and Leo (Andy Lau), discover one whom they suspect of being the blind daughter of the House's recently assassinated leader working as a dancer in a local brothel. Jin and Leo concoct an elaborate Good Cop-Bad Cop routine whereby the girl, Mei (Ziyi Zhang), is arrested, interrogated, threatened with torture, rescued, and returned safely to the House's hidden, rural base. Jin plays the role of the dashing rescuer while Leo follows the "fleeing" pair with troops. Mei being one hot babe, Leo warns Jin, a self-proclaimed Lothario, not to take his role too seriously.
The stunning countryside in which this film was photographed is presumably China. When, at one point, Mei and Jin are menaced by attackers vaulting through the topmost branches of an achingly green bamboo forest chucking spears, I thought, "This isn't Kansas." (I also thought, "With perfectly good ground to walk upon, why have they taken to the treetops?" But, that's the curmudgeon in me speaking.)
HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS is essentially an extravagant visual feast, with gorgeous costuming and seamlessly choreographed martial arts sequences, that could almost be appreciated without the English subtitles. Almost. However, a rudimentary plot remains, admittedly with some good twists, but which ends in a deadly duel between two combatants that so protractedly milked the scene for every last drop of cheap melodrama that my wife and I were reduced to snickers and a rolling of the eyes. So, four stars instead of five.
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House Of Flying Daggers [Blu-ray] [2004]
House Of Flying Daggers [Blu-ray] [2004] by Yimou Zhang (Blu-ray - 2008)
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