7.5/10
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437 user 246 critic

House of Flying Daggers (2004)

Shi mian mai fu (original title)
Trailer
1:56 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Yimou Zhang

Writers:

Feng Li, Bin Wang | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,857 ( 140)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 26 wins & 73 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Yimou Zhang has said that he will rewrite the screenplay to remove Anita Mui's character following the veteran star's death. This is meant to be a sign of respect for Mui. It was earlier reported that Michelle Yeoh or Brigitte Lin would be cast instead. See more »

Goofs

When Wind stops on his horse to return to Mei the first time, his horse is a light brown when he stops, but throughout the scene, it changes to a dark brown. See more »

Quotes

Mei: A rare beauty in the North. She's the finest lady on earth. A glance from her, the whole city goes down. A second glance leaves the nation in ruins. There exists no city or nation that has been more cherished than a beauty like this. A rare beauty in the North. She's the finest lady on earth. A glance from her, the whole city goes down. A second glance leaves the nation in ruins. There exists no city or nation that has been more cherished than a beauty like this.
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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 »

Alternate Versions

The UK version is cut by the BBFC by 18 seconds. The cuts were to remove three instances of real animal cruelty (in this case, three horsefalls) which would have fell foul of Animal Cruelty laws in the UK. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Making of House of Flying Daggers (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Beauty Song (Jia Ren Qu)
Written by Li Yannian
Performed by Ziyi Zhang
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User Reviews

 
A feast for the senses, a fully satisfying cinematic experience.
20 April 2005 | by budmasseySee 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

China | Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

14 January 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

House of Flying Daggers See more »

Filming Locations:

Beijing, China See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CNY100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$397,472, 5 December 2004

Gross USA:

$11,050,094

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$92,863,945
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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