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HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, the new film by Zhang Yimou, is sweeping and beautiful and sort of sweet if a bit kitschy.
The scenes in HoFD far surpass any movie you can name in the Hollywood-based action category. Forget MATRIX RELOADED or THE PHANTOM MENACE, Zhang Yimou blows these films on their filmstock ass (dv ass). You want beautiful costumes and amazingly balletic choreographed fight scenes? You can't beat HoFD. Zhang Ziyi, Andy Lau, Takeshi Kaneshiro do a great if slightly awkward job of displaying raw emotion in the story of a love triangle and deception in the time of the Chang Dynasty. The movie is all eye candy with the referred to flying daggers, beautiful costuming, and intense looks all through the lens of Xiaoding Zhao. (And if you're into cinematography there is an amazing sudden snowstorm scene!)
Unfortunately everything feels a bit trite in HoFD. If you are hoping for a story that goes beyond Asian period piece soap operas, look at renting HERO again. The story of assasins and political intrigue falls a bit flat. And unfortunately the chemistry in the love triangle (though sweet) doesn't feel as hot and burning as the chemistry between Maggie Cheung and Tong Leung in HERO.
Still, as an action film it far outweighs what we in the West would expect in terms of cinematography, costumes, and action scenes. For this reason I recommend you go out and see it. If only so Sony and Miramax will continue to widely distribute Hong Kong films (action or otherwise) in the US.Comments:Dude,Post a Comment
Talk about flying daggers. I wanted to post a comment about the film, What the Bleep, but whenever I scrolled to the comment button below the writing I was suddenly flung back to the top of the blog. I tried signing out and signing back in and then tried sneaking up on it from the bottom of the page, still no luck. So even though it might not apply directly, I'm going to put my comment here in this space and maybe somehow it will all connect.
I agree with most of your analysis but since it wouldn't stay still long enough for me to read your conclusion, I can only hope that you noticed how long the film stayed in the movie houses. I posed the possibilty to my wife, who also wanted to leave but didn't, that maybe the very fact that it was so familiar in format (high school science class film) is what made it so popular.