December 07, 2004

House Of Flying Daggers

I just saw this movie on DVD (from the local Chinese movie the mall!)

It gets off to a bit of a slow start, or what I'd consider a slower start than normal for a martial arts film. But don't let the dancing or singing stop you - and before you start thinking musical, no this is not one of those. The main character's first stop is a high class bordello, because he and his fellow captain suspect the new blind girl to be the daughter of the rebel House of Flying Daggers.

The girl gets arrested, then gets broken out by the captain, who's working undercover hoping that she'll lead him to the new rebel leader. Once these characters get on the run things get really interesting and the action escalates, especially once the investigation passes from local law enforcement to a general who cares little for human life.

Like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, there's a love story in this film. But instead of a 20 minute tangent in the middle of the film (as in CTHD), emotions are played out during lulls in the action and don't break the momentum.

The first action scene, in the brothel, is visually stunning but falls flat somehow. Some of the action just defies too many laws of physics...or maybe I should say the wrong laws of physics get violated, considering that we're talking a sword wielded by a sleeve in one scene and wirework in others. But if you can overlook that, the scene itself is breathtaking.

The rest of the action scenes ramp up the tension nicely, each building on the last and more dangerous as the story moves forward.

The story is so well written that I needed to see the film again immediately.

Like Hero, this film makes excellent use of color. But where Hero used color to differentiate between points of view, House Of Flying Daggers uses natural colors that are bolder.


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