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House of Flying Daggers (2004)

Shi mian mai fu (original title)
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 19 wins & 66 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jin
...
Leo
...
Xiao Mei (as Zhang Ziyi)
...
Yee
Hongfei Zhao ...
Performer
Jun Guo ...
Performer
Shu Zhang ...
Performer
...
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 »

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

14 January 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

House of Flying Daggers  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

CNY 100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

CNY 55,000,000 (China) (18 July 2004)

Gross:

$11,050,094 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ziyi Zhang is not actually a trained martial artist, despite having been in many martial arts films. She is however a skilled dancer (joined the Beijing Dance Academy at age 11), like her character here, so she uses many dance moves in her fight sequences. See more »

Goofs

Most of the trees are silver birch which is not native to China, but is from Europe (this movie was made in Ukraine). See more »

Quotes

Jin: When can we see each other again?
Mei: We cannot. We belong to two opposing sides. If we meet again... one of us will have to die.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Mini (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Beauty Song (Jia Ren Qu)
Written by Li Yannian
Performed by Ziyi Zhang
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A feast for the senses, a fully satisfying cinematic experience.
20 April 2005 | by (Indianapolis, IN) – See all my reviews

Shi Mian Mai Fu belongs to a growing body of work that embodies a clearly Asian aesthetic packaged just as clearly for Western consumption. It is no coincidence that, each time I paused the DVD for whatever reason, the still image on the screen was as beautiful as any classic wood block print by Hiroshige or Hokusai. Xiaoding Zhao's elegant cinematography imbues every scene with haunting beauty. Think Tak Fujimoto times ten, with no disrespect meant to Fujimoto, who shoots Western movies and still manages to inject his refined visual sense into such great films as Silence of the Lambs and Sixth Sense.

Director Yimou Zhang's work in Hero was more epic, more heroic, but SMMF has a more refined sense of story. The cast, the scenery, the music, including vocal performances by the legendary Kathleen Battle; all elements conspire brilliantly to convey subtle and nuanced meaning in moments. The story, as do all good stories of this genre, revolves around a delicate interplay of love, betrayal, deception and heroism of many different kinds, and, oh yes, those stunning ballets of combat layered with evocative sounds and effects.

In a nutshell, the plot goes something like this. A beautiful blind showgirl is captured as a spy. Her captors conspire to trick her into leading them to her leader. Along the way, both hunter and quarry become entangled in a web of subterfuge and deception. Add in a beautifully tragic romantic story line, again, as all such movies must have, and never forget that the essence of all truly great tragedy is inevitability.

This movie is also known as Ambush From Ten Sides, and in that more literal translation of its title you will find its essence. A worthy successor to Hero, though not as magnificent as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, in which Ziyi Zhang gives the performance of a lifetime and the one against all her other roles will be judged, and in this case, fall short, House of Flying Daggars is nevertheless a feast for the senses and a fully satisfying cinematic experience.


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