AFI Fest Review: House of Flying Daggers
Directed by Zhang Yimou
House of Flying Daggers
is renowned Chinese director Zhang Yimou's latest offering and marks Zhang's second US release in 4 months, following close on the heels of his previous film, Hero. Zhang has been quoted as saying that while Hero was an experiment, House of Flying Daggers is the real thing. If so, then directors the world over should count their blessings if they manage to produce a finished product as beautiful and rousing as Zhang's "experiment."
As accomplished as Hero was, Daggers is even more breathtaking and elegant, though somewhat more restrained, taking a classically romantic story of love and betrayal, blending it with the action choreography of Siu-Tung Ching (Hero, Shaolin Soccer) and placing all in the hands of the master of light, movement and color that is Zhang Yimou. All of the laws-of-physics-ignoring stunts and weaponry are on hand, along with the gripping tale of intrigue, crime and deception. Of course, these days no martial arts film is complete without a bamboo forest fight scene and this one is good as they come.