A Cultural Fantasy

House of Flying Daggers  (2004) by Yimou Zhang
Other films by Yimou Zhang: Raise the Red Lantern (1991), Hero (2002), Curse of the Golden Flowers (2006)

I’ve heard about the film before due to its unique and interesting fight scenes that may resemble that of The Matrix movies. However, I wasn’t really into Asian films and martial arts flicks back then. Not until recently did I decide to finally be familiar with the film and Asian actors that I realized the hidden beauty and creativity that it offers. I am very much impressed with how the film regulated and the plot that carried it. It really showed the great mind Yimou Zhang and his co-writers. Ziyi Zhang is just a dazzling actress that deserves each praise. Will Definitely check out more of her films.


Directing: The cinematography makes it really beautiful and nearly perfect for such Chinese culture. The dance bribe scene seems out of place from the context of the film, it didn’t match the rationality that the feel, though need not maintain, seemed a bit pointless. The dance in the “Echo game” and it’s choreography was excellent thought. Must be magical realism.

The scene when Mei randomly drew the sword to assassinate Captain Leo it really impressed the way the fiction in the story tempts you to learn and love its world. It also gave the effect of the blind using the sound as guide when fighting. And using the female hero makes it more refreshing; reminds you of the rumour regarding Quintin Tarantino.

The attack scene with the cavalry was well made and I like the cinematography of it. The private conversation scene was reasonable and interesting when you take the perspective of the characters.

The bamboo fight scene was creative and one of a kind. The cinematography seemed anime which may have opened the door for a new brand of genre in film; the graphic novel kind. The bamboo spear scene seemed boring and overdone though. I didn’t really understand the slow effect of it.

The last fight scene between Jin and Leo was epic. And the ending is just classical material. It was very heart-warming and nearly had me in tears.

Plot: The plot seems really interesting and the way it was presented in such a magical and unique way makes the film really special.

The progress of the story is very continuous that you become imprisoned inside the subsets of the story. You are reminded of the wider scale of the story when Mei was out of the picture. There you realize how “small” in the bigger scheme of things the present event was. They still have 9 days to kill the new leader.

The twist of course was expected but it’s a much special twist taken deeply. The second twist with Captain Leo and its own heartfelt story was grappling. It may also have influenced “The Departed”, only “Flying Daggers is of a historic and romantic theme. You’ve been believing the love story between Jin and Mei so much that you’ve fallen into a trap. Since the true love may actually belong to Leo and Mei. No wonder he was torture, as he said. All his words and expressions have made sense after the revelation giving them more deep sense. It was a bit rushed and too telling though. And the “Echo Game” really showcased their Mei and Leo’s way of communicating. It’s very intimate.

The plot may suggest the incoherent writing of the film, however, which may reflect whether the story was being written and added up as the film progresses or not.

Characters/Acting: Ziyi Zhang’s acting is phenomenal and may have had the best and most honest expression I’ve seen in a female actor in film. Clearly she overshadowed everyone in the cast. Takeshi Kaneshiro did well, in my opinion too. Zhang’s acting is a real gem in the film. A rare talent to discover and cherish in our time now.

Score: The score fitted well with the film and the song sung by Mei in the start and by Jin at the ending really concluded the film really well.

No comments:

Post a Comment