During China's Tang dynasty the emperor has taken the princess of a neighboring province as wife. She has borne him two sons and raised his eldest. Now his control over his dominion is complete, including the royal family itself.
After more than four hundred years of war between the Shinobi warriors of the Manjidani Koga and Tsubagakure Iga clans, the Lord Hattori Hanzou decrees that they must live in peace. Both ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
Concerned that Western audiences would not be able to tell Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro's apart in the beginning of the film as they are dressed similarly, Yimou Zhang had Kaneshiro's character eat peanuts throughout many of the opening scenes to distinguish them. See more »
During the battle in the flower field Jin is wounded behind his left thigh. Near the end when he leaves Mei, he is limping on the wrong leg. See more »
When can we see each other again?
We cannot. We belong to two opposing sides. If we meet again... one of us will have to die.
See more »
The Chinese theatrical release has a Chinese translation of the ending song (which has lyrics in English) on the left side of the screen during the credits. See more »
Following on from HERO with another visually arresting feature...
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?