Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Friday, October 15, 2004

Movie Review: "The House Of Flying Daggers" (2004)

Two Words- Zhang Ziyi.

Okay, I have more than just two words do describe and applaud about this great follow up by Zhang Yimou to his worldwide hit "Hero".
Yimou leans more toward the more narrative approach to telling the story this time. HoFD is actually a more Hollywoodesque treatment to teh whole wuxia movie template.

Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) and Leo (Andy Lau) are two of many lawmen in mid 800 AD who are looking for the elusive gang of robin hood-type criminals known as the House of Flying Daggers. They soon get words that a dancer at a local brothel is suspected to be a member of the said gang. Mei(Zhang Ziyi) is a blind dancer in the brothel and is being seized by the duo through deceiving her that one of them is a paying customer. She is then caught. Wow, how blunt her mind and instinct must be for falling into their trap! Of course, there's more to it than that!

The most important thing I need to point out about this movie is that watching it in the theater will probably increase ones apprecaiation of the work by about 40%. The pounds of the drums and shrills of the string instruments are almost characters in themselves as they play an essential role in this story of deception, love and loyalty.

Zhang Ziyi,now 25 is as stunning as ever...even as a blind girl. Her dancing talents and classical ballet were finally put to use in the dance sequence at the beginning of the film.
To compare HoFD with Hero is like comparing apples to oranges. They are two totally different things. Takeshi, well, is one handsome dude! He is being regarded nowadays as the Asian Johnny Depp. I'm mean, this guy makes me jealous. He gets to make out with my girl Z! Its unfair! Nooooo!!!!

A Zhang Yimou movie isn't a Zhang Yimou movie without the breathtaking use and rendering of colors. To say HoFD is a visual feast is an understatement. While in "Hero", Zhang used colors to describe various versions of the same story, here it was mostly the mood and emotions of the main characters. From the deep purple, to solid green and of course, pure white these atmospheres convey the feelings of guilt, uncertainty, desire and passion that are, in some cases, simultaneously evoked in one scene!

Although I admit to have been left wanting more after the credits started to roll, I can say that this movie still deserves all the acclaim it has received. Those who didn't like it (or were possibly, a little too "uninformed" on Chinese Culture and cinema to appreciate some of the scenes) were probably expecting a Romeo and Juliet meets Kill Bill type joyride. All I can say is, "Watch F4 or Jet li instead!!!"

Rocketboy's Rating: *** (3 out of 5)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chinese epic films. Martial arts, good costumes, mysticism. What's not to love? I can't wait to see this movie!!! Wylmer

5:31 PM


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