I have never, ever seen a film that Hollywood or any other Western film production company has ever created that can top Chinese cinema in this form.
The action in the film is a visual treat. Director Yimou Zhang artfully executed set-pieces which are great to watch and gives the middle finger to the CGI bloated Hollywood movies of the same ilk (ex.: “Lord of The Rings”)
Zhang Yimou set a new benchmark for martial arts movies with “Hero”. Visually both inventive and mesmerizing, whilst having a strong thematic thread, it still managed to “kick ass”, with energetic fight scenes. He continues in the same vein with “House of Flying Daggers”, with love and romance replacing “Hero’s” chivalry and honor.
The film is a enchanting romantic adventure, with beautiful locations, gorgeous costumes, amazing cinematography, vibrant colors, immaculate music score, fight and dance sequences incredibly choreographed and energetic, and the CGI is seamless. The story begins like an action movie, and ends like a tragic romance. Visually, it is an impressive masterpiece.
In the Ninth Century, the Tang Dinasty in China is weak and corrupt, and an army of rebels called “The House of the Flying Daggers” fights against the government military forces, and steals from the rich to give to the poor people. Leo (Andy Lau) and Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro), two captains of the government army, plot a scheme against the rebels using the blind dancer Mei (Zhang Ziyi) to approach their leaders, but their love for Mei leads them to a tragedy.
It was one breathtaking scene after another. There are enough plot twist, double crossings and romance to keep the scenes between the action sequences interesting.
As it stands House of Flying Daggers is a fine movie, never quite as good as Hero, and definitely behind Crouching Tiger too, but it’s far superior to most of the formulaic actioners Hollywood produces.