Movie Review: The House of Flying Daggers

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The house of flying daggers rebel group

Good news for the “romance freaks”, because this is not a wuxia movie that is mainly about fighting. (Even though the fight scene’s are really amazing!!) The complicated love story is really at the heart of the movie.

And it has the stars, Andy Lau, Zhang Ziyi and Takeshi Kaneshiro. And they perform like I have never seen them before. You will be moved, amazed, touched, and definitely you will fall in love, with this movie.

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Story:

This movie takes place during the decline of the Tang Dyanasty in 859 CE. Rebel groups are everywhere and the greatest of those groups is the house of flying daggers.

Local authorities kill the leader of the group, but the group only becomes stronger from it and quickly have a new leader. two police captains are ordered to kill the new leader. The two captains, Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) and Liu (Andy Lau), set out to investigate. They find a blind dancer called Mei (Zhang Ziyi), who they suspect of being the daughter of the old leader. They arrest her and lock her up in prison, but instead of letting her stay there they set up a plan. To catch the mastermind behind the house of flying daggers they decide to let her escape with the help of Jin.

Jin pretends to be a lone warrior called wind and helps her escape from prison. They escape together and they travel to the headquarters of the house of flying daggers. However, Jin falls in love with Mei.

Will he finally betray her, or is there more to this story?

I can tell you that there certainly is more to the story, it has an amazing plot that is great to find out, for yourself.

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Personal opinion:

This movie is really one of the most intelligent, plot-twisting and incredible movies I have seen. If you like this genre, you MUST see it!!! Whatever you do, watch this first!
I’m always amused by those movie list that say ” a hundred movies to see before you die” well, this movie actually has to be on that list. And it is on my own “watch list” actually. : )

The beauty of this whole movie is overwhelming, the colors, the music, the fighting, and the really amazing story.
Ziyi Zhang does an amazing job as a blind girl, to play the role she actually lived with a blind girl for two months, that already shows how much dedication and work went into this movie.

Takeshi Kaneshiro and Andy Lau are on their best also and as for the director Zhang Yimou, first he made the masterpiece Hero (2002) and then he made the House of Flying Dagger which is really just as good. I take my hat off, or sword out, ehmm… or whatever.

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Mei (Zhang Ziyi) performing the “Echo Dance”

One of the best scenes in the movie is about an amazing game called the “echo game”, or other than a game it’s really more a sort of dance. In a certain part in the movie Liu wants to test Mei’s skills, he knows she cannot see but he decides to test her hearing. They set up an array of drum’s and he throws beans against them. She hits the drums afterwards with her long sleeves. They start of slow but finally close to a thousand beans start flying all over, and yes she knows their exact location. The scene is a combination of music, dancing, martial arts, beautiful setting, amazing costumes and color. This scene has really everything you can ask for and more.

Now, I know this a trick that would be really difficult to pull off in real life, but wow it makes one hell of an amazing movie.

Then we have the martial arts. Let me just say, I never knew you could do so much with bamboo, I know you can make a stick out of bamboo and then hit people with it, but seriously, the way they use bamboo for fighting in this movie, wow!

And of course there are the daggers, which are, like the title suggests, flying all over the place. Hundreds of them flying all over. And in the end of the movie the daggers do play an important role also, the title is present in the whole movie.

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(One of the ways bamboo is being used in the movie: to trap people)

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Jin also known as Wind. (Takeshi Kaneshiro)

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Looks like there is some rivalry going on here : ) 

A note about money, which is boring I know, but this movie had a budget of $12 million and grossed $92,863,945 world wide (according to boxofficemojo), so it was apparently received fairly well.

Another note, about location, because that’s quite interesting. The bamboo scene’s were of course filmed in China but some of the forest scenes were actually filmed in Ukraine’s Carpathian Mountains, now that’s a pretty interesting location.

To end this let me talk about Anita Mui, because she was originally cast for a role in this movie. She had cancer however and the movie was to be her final role, sadly she died before they started filming,
the movie was eventually in memory of Anita Mui…

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In the north there is a beauty; surpassing the world, she stands alone.
A glance from her will overthrow a city; another glance will overthrow a nation.
One can not know whether it will be a city or a nation that will be overthrown.
But it would be difficult to behold such a beauty again.

Lyrics from the theme in the movie.

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