Sunday, January 16, 2005

House of Flying Daggers

A friend asked me to go see House of Flying Daggers with him last night. I hadn't heard anything about it, so I didn't really have any expectations. Flying Daggers stars Ziyi Zhang, who was also in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which I really loved.

Flying Daggers takes place in 859 AD China, at the decline of the Tang Dynasty. The corrupt government is opposed by a rebel group called the House of Flying Daggers, that operates in a Robin Hood type fashion, robbing the rich to give to the poor, gaining the support of the people.

The movie begins with two local county captains, Leo and Jin, played by Andy Lau Tak Wah and Takeshi Kaneshiro, who have been instructed to assasinate the new leader of the Flying Daggers, only a short while after they had managed to assasinate the previous leader. Leo suspects that a new dancer (Zhang) at the local brothel is actually the daughter of the assasinated Flying Daggers leader.

The dancer, Mei, is arrested and questions but refuses to divulge anything about the identity or whereabouts of the rebel leader. When the questioning fails, Leo and Jin agree to have Jin pose as a rogue warrior, break Mei out of jail, seduce her, and escort her to the headquarters of the Flying Daggers.

All seems to go according to plan, as Jin gains Mei's trust and affection as they make their way to the secret headquarters. Of course, the big question is whether Jin is really playing a game or has managed to fall for Mei despite his deception.

From beginning to end, this is a visually stunning production. From incredibly intricate and beautiful interiors to sweeping landscapes along with colorful, detailed costumes that would make any drag queen green with envy, every scene is a visual gem. The movie is worth the price of admission on that alone. Along with martial arts sequences with the beauty and grace of the finest ballet and excellent acting all around and a moving story line, Flying Daggers has vaulted to classic status in my book.


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