Sunday, September 12, 2004

House of Flying Daggers


Zhang Yimou's follows Hero with another big matrial arts (wu xia) film. Gone is the formal use of colours and the intellectual bent on story telling. House of Flying Daggers is pure, unabashed chinese melodrama. This is not a bad thing, although those expecting something along the lines of Yimou's message charged previous work will be somewhat let down. Zhang Ziyi is definitely maturing as an actress and she gets an upgrade from supporting roles in high-profile Asian exports (Crouching Tiger, Hero) to Leading Lady. Her two potential lovers are played well by top-not actors (Hong Kong's Andy Lau and half-Taiwanese, half-Japanese Takeshi Kaneshiro).
The story involves a lot of disguises, double crosses and emotional confusion set in historical China. The plot mechanics are startlingly similiar (or reminded me of anyway) to another Andy Lau picture, Infernal Affairs (which is not surprisingly on tap for american remake by none other than Martin Scorcese!!!???!!!)
The movie is techically superior in the genre in every way, even to Hero which was a true benchmark of wu xia only two years ago. The 'Echo Game' dance sequence is breathtaking and original. The bamboo forest sequence is a brilliantly staged homage to King Hu. And the fight sequences have more originality that one would expect, making Kill Bill and Crouching Tiger look dated before they have even significantly aged.
In December, go see this on the big screen for the beauty of the ballet-like fighting, the pageant-like costumes and the sumptuous scenery. Zhang Yimou again has the landscape and rooms the characters physically occupy completely repesent the mood of the scene. Remember the leaves going blood red at a characters death in Hero? Wait till you see what is done here.

1 Comments:

Blogger grace said...

oh, man. i'm green with envy. i can't wait to see it!

4:54 PM  

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