Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Movie Review (House of Flying Daggers)...

House of Flying Daggers

During the reign of the Tang dynasty in China, a secret organization called "The House of the Flying Daggers" rises to oppose the government. A government deputy called Leo (played by Infernal Affairs star, Andy Lau) sends his friend and fellow deputy Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) to investigate Mei (Zhang Ziyi of Crouching Tiger fame), a suspected member of the ever-illusive ‘Flying Daggers’. Leo arrests Mei, and the two men hatch a cunning plan to lead the police to the new leader of the secret organization.

There has been a recent Western surge in the popularity of Chinese martial arts ‘wushu’ movies. Since Ang Lee’s ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ debuted in 2000, audiences have begged for more. The man responsible for satisfying the demand is director Zhang Zimou, who last year gave us Jet Li in ‘Hero’. His follow up is has finally arrived on western shores, but is it worthy?

In a word, no. The movie’s only real plus points are the stunning cinematography by Xiaoding Zhao and the production design by Tingxiao Huo. Every frame of this movie is presented beautifully, with inventive and entertaining action set-pieces to rival those of any decent western action movie. However, one can’t help but feel that ‘House of Flying Daggers’ was a rush job, hoping to capitalise on the success of ‘Hero’. The script is a mess of clichés and wooden dire-logue, with a third act throwing twist after twist at the audience, battering them into submission.

Disappointing.

2.5 out of 5