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House of the Flying Daggers – review2 min read

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Did you ever wonder what would happen if you threw Romeo and Juliet, Robin Hood, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and 24 together in a blender?

No? Me either, but I found out last night when I watched House of the Flying Daggers.

I don’t mean to sound too harsh. If it came out of a blender it was a very aesthetically pleasing blender.

This is a gorgeous film. It, like so many other Asian films, has a depth and beauty in the cinematography that most Western films cannot match. The visuals are stunning, from the changing scenery in the forests to the battle sequences. They take so many more risks by letting their actors move in and out of trees without having the camera dead on their face. They will let the camera pause as an actor walks away from the camera, then stops and waits in the center of the screen.

If I sound like I am praising Asian filmmaking in general and not this film specifically, it is because I am. There is not much different in this film than any other artistic martial arts movie.

Two waring factions: Check
Preferable the corrupt government vs. freedom fighters: Check
A guy and a girl thrown together by fate: Check
They fall in love despite obstacles: Check
The ubiquitous fight in the bamboo forest: Check
Lots of insane arial acrobatics: Check
Main characters dying left and right: Check
A crazy ending which explains nothing: Check

Well, cut and print we have an arthouse martial arts movie.

Honestly, I don’t want to be harsh to the film. I enjoyed it and the intrigue that the characters brought, but I have seen it all before. I enjoy it every time I see it, but nothing original comes through in this film.

House of the Flying Daggers: *** (3 stars)
Worldview of the film: ** (2 stars) You are "teased" with three possible sex scenes, then just when you think it won’t happen – BAM, sex scene, with the actress display great talent at turning in various ways without displaying too much to put the movie into the R category. Numerous sexual innuendos as well as some drinking scenes. As with almost every movie, the good characters are willing to sacrifice for the good of others.

Overall: If you like those type of movies, watch it. It is enjoyable enough and better than most of what is on tv today.