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Saturday, November 5, 2011

House of Flying Daggers (2004, Chinese)

Director: Zhang Yimou                      
Cast: Ziyi Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau
Genre: Action, Drama

Plot: Chinese dynasty rule is plagued by various rebellions—“House of Flying Daggers” is one such rebel group.  
House of Flying Daggers

Contrary to what the name suggests, this wuxia film isn’t a high-octane dose of martial arts, it’s rather well-balanced with a heartwarming/wrenching tale of love.

The initial action scenes may not stir you much and you may not find them outstanding, but that is deliberately done only to build up tempo of the movie. As the movie progresses it starts to grip you. While protagonists run from law the vista changes constantly from deep forest to flowery meadow to bamboo forest to golden brown of autumn – bringing back memories of my recent Roopkund trek :)
The forest fight scene and bamboo jungle scene are top notch even remind you of “Crouching Tigers Hidden Dragons”. Bow-arrow scenes are nifty but LOTR-Legolas remains my personal favorite. The daggers are really cool! They are so made to even work as a boomerang!

It would have been a 7+ for me had it not climaxed the way it did. Astounding climax, not just story-wise but visually too – especially visually, and perfectly executed! Totally takes you unawares…didn't expect it to be so...what can I say? only "Rebecca" did this to me before! 

Some Trivia: There was supposed to be no snow-fall in the climax scene but it snowed while shooting and that gelled so beautifully with the scene, adding even more weight to it.

Strongest aspects of this movie are its striking visuals (read natural beauty) and use of various bright colors. What Argento does with colors in his horror movies, Yimou replicates that in his drama/action movies—he actually betters him.

A must watch, highly recommended if you want to experience nature up-close on screen!


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