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House of Flying Daggers (2004)
"Shi mian mai fu" (original title)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 80,787 users   Metascore: 89/100
Reviews: 413 user | 250 critic | 37 from Metacritic.com

A romantic police captain breaks a beautiful member of a rebel group out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 25 wins & 45 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jin
...
Leo
...
Xiao Mei (as Zhang Ziyi)
Dandan Song ...
Yee
Hongfei Zhao ...
Performer
Jun Guo ...
Performer
Shu Zhang ...
Performer
Jiusheng Wang ...
Performer
Zhengyong Zhang ...
Performer
Yongxin Wang ...
Performer
Dong Liu ...
Performer
Qi Zi ...
Performer
Xuedong Qu ...
Performer
Liping Tian ...
Performer
Hongwei Zhao ...
Performer
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Storyline

During the reign of the Tang dynasty in China, a secret organization called "The House of the Flying Daggers" rises and opposes the government. A police officer called Leo sends officer Jin to investigate a young dancer named Mei, claiming that she has ties to the "Flying Daggers". Leo arrests Mei, only to have Jin breaking her free in a plot to gain her trust and lead the police to the new leader of the secret organization. But things are far more complicated than they seem... Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sequences of stylized martial arts violence, and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

14 January 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

House of Flying Daggers  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

CNY 100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$146,833 (Australia) (11 February 2005)

Gross:

$11,041,228 (USA) (1 April 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song that Mei sings that begins with, "A Rare Beauty in the North" is actually an ancient poem set to music. It was written by the brother of an Imperial Concubine about his sister. Meant as a cautionary tale to the Emperor about overindulgence in female beauty at the same time it acknowledged the lasting hurt of a powerful love. See more »

Goofs

The music that the live musicians play during the drum duel scene, although beautiful, is not characteristic of classical Chinese music of that era. See more »

Quotes

Mei: To be free like the wind.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In Memory of Anita Mui 1963-2003 See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Episode #1.14 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Lovers
Music and lyrics by Shigeru Umebayashi
Performed by Kathleen Battle
Played during the closing credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Following on from HERO with another visually arresting feature...
20 November 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

After absolutely loving 'Hero', I couldn't wait for Zhang Yimou's latest Wuxia Pien feature to arrive on DVD. After watching it, I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed, as it is another sumptuous, stylistic feature, which deserves all the accolades it is likely to receive.

The plot of the film is told in a more linear narrative when compared to that of 'Hero', but that is not to say it is any more straightforward. Set in the Tang Dynasty, the basic premise is nothing to write home about, featuring government officials on the trail of an underground rebel alliance 'The House of Flying Daggers'. However, there is enough characterisation and depth to hold your attention, while the (sometimes predictable) plot twists keep you guessing. Unfortunately, there is nothing entirely new about this story and it's probably familiar ground to fans of the wuxia genre. Nevertheless, it flows at a decent pace and is punctuated with enough stylistic action sequences that the 2-hour running time is quickly exhausted.

As with Yimou's impressive previous feature, Tony Ching Siu-tung takes over the action direction, producing another sterling performance. In my opinion, he is currently the top fight choreographer around after spending so many years being considered second fiddle to the likes of Yuen Wo-ping and Sammo Hung; he now deserves to be considered above them on his current output. In this instance, much of the overt stylisation evident in Hero is played down in favour of more grounded, natural martial artistry. There is still plenty of wire work and a spattering of CGI to aid the sequences, however, it is plain to see that much of the action displayed is a mix of genuine swordplay and actual technique. All the performers acquit themselves well considering none of them are formally trained in martial arts – especially Zhang Ziyi who performs impressively from start to finish.

As you would expect from a Zhang Yimou film, the visuals are majestic, with primary colours and panoramic landscapes making up much of what we see. Unfortunately, many people do not seem to take to this artistic approach, and will label the film another case of style over substance. I would disagree, as I believe it contains plenty of both with a strong cast, interesting characters and high quality action to provide the foundation for the kind of bold, sumptuous visuals, which are rare to find in modern film.

Overall, I personally prefer 'Hero' but know of plenty who would disagree. As a result, I recommend it as a definite purchase to any fan of films from this genre.


116 of 153 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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style over substance again JoeyRamone
An ignorant language question lemony
Future same styled movies? orion_jrm
please help me think of the name of this movie ccr152
Unrealistic !? danaa-lii
I think a lot of people are ignoring a massive plot hole. pink_floyd3456142
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