Thursday, January 13, 2005

House of Flying Daggers (2004)

Sorry, I see nothing funny about bathing

Genre: Action Adventure Drama Fantasy Romance (China)

Starring: Takeshi Kaneshiro (Chungking Express), Ziyi Zhang (Memoirs Of A Geisha; 2046)

Directed By: Yimou Zhang (Raise The Red Lantern; Hero)

Overview: A man seduces a woman in hopes that she will lead him to the head of the House of Flying Daggers gang, so that he may end their reign.

Acting: The acting is melodramatic, but this is standard in this sort of film, and it really wasn't distracting. There was nothing spectacular here, but it was good overall.
Rating: 7

The cinematography was grand and panoramic, as expected, but I honestly felt that there should be more. The ultra-green scenes in the bamboo forest and the fall field turning to snow was fantastic, but there was something missing in the beginning. Maybe it was lenses and filters, but it weren't no Hero.
Rating: 8

The translation I watched was horrible and tacky. In all fairness the version I saw was intended for Chinese audiences, and maybe the American theater version is better written, and let's hope so, because I found myself laughing at the casual, matter-of-fact way Andy said the line "I was tortured." When you laugh at seriousness, it's not good. Also, throughout, I was thinking, 'Ok, ok, get on with it, this dialogue is predictable.' With such lines as "If I can't have her, nobody can," what else do you want?
Rating: 5

The guy finds her, infiltrates her, she leads him towards her secret, then he scuttles off to have a secret meeting, meant of course to let the audience know that this was the plan all along, but then another twist, and some danger thrown in, though in all likelihood, preventable. Twist reveals predictable twist and in the end there's but a hint of a surprise. Continuity was barely above par.
Rating: 6

The mood in this film, as with all others is the thing that these directors and actors and cameramen work so hard to produce, and of course it succeeded. This is up there with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for it's romantic yet heart-wrenching attempt. Good, and the score helped too.
Rating: 8

It sucks cause every time you visit, you get stabbed in the face. - E. Reid

Overall Rating: 68% (Off By A Sliver)

Aftertaste: Half way through I said "House of Flying Clichés". The friend I had over laughed in agreement. We didn't really take this movie too seriously. The fighting was good, but not great, the story was typical and without punch, the characters were fairly two dimensional in their view and in their actions. This film will fade as one of the over-hyped Wire films of the last few years. I know lots of people will be disappointed, because they all expect Hero. Well heros don't fade so quickly from the mind as this movie will.