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House of Flying Daggers (2004)

Shi mian mai fu (original title)
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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 »
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Popularity
3,297 ( 736)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 22 wins & 68 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 | Add 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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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:

CNY 100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

CNY 55,000,000 (China), 18 July 2004

Opening Weekend USA:

$397,472, 5 December 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$11,050,094

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$92,863,945
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The climactic fight scene was filmed in the Ukraine. It snowed so early (October) that it caught the filmmakers by surprise, as they had already started filming. They decided to change the script and the movie so that it would appear almost as if this epic battle began during the fall and ended during winter. Yimou Zhang was very happy with how it turned out because it set the perfect tone and obviously highlighted the blood spilled on the snow. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the Echo Game, the captain throws the entire bowl of white beans which bounce off the drums and ultimately fall to the ground. When Mei echoes the movements with her scarves, there are no beans on the ground. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The US version has blood reduced or digitally painted out of some of the fight scenes in order to secure a PG-13 rating. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Another Top 10 Martial Arts Movies (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Beauty Song (Jia Ren Qu)
Written by Li Yannian
Performed by Ziyi Zhang
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

It's An Action Flick! It's A Love Story! It's A Date Movie!
11 December 2004 | by noraleeSee all my reviews

"House of Flying Daggers (Shi mian mai fu)" shows they can make movies like that anymore. This is a grand action love story that fully captures the eye and the heart, the pulse and ears. Yes, an action flick can be a date movie!

While building on the Wu-Xia tradition of literature and film that's as much historical fantasy as any rollicking Dumas adventure or the "Lord of the Rings" films, director Yimou Zhang incorporates elements we have seen elsewhere into a freshly thrilling experience.

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" had a more sophisticated plot, but this one's twisty enough in the ever more duplicitous spies/hunter and the hunted vein.

It has a lot of plot similarities to another Ziyi Zhang-starrer, the drama of 1930's war intrigue "Purple Butterfly (Zi hudie)," minus the political lessons.

From Japanese films there's borrowing from the "Zatôichi: The Blind Swordsman" legends as well as almost as much from Kurasawa's "Hidden Fortress" that Lucas did for the "Star Wars" saga, and then borrowing forest fighting imagery from Lucas to an open meadow as magical as in "The Wizard of Oz."

"The Matrix" movies may have wowed us more with "bullet time" plus there is a lot of following arrow trajectories as in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," not coincidentally as the titular rebels are stealing from the rich to benefit the poor, but the context of the weapons for Siu-Tung Ching's martial arts choreography are more varied and emotional.

Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge" is only a bit more over the top than the beautiful production design and elaborate costumes in this Peony Pavilion, but every inch of the screen and soundtrack is as operatically filled and should be experienced on a large screen.

The director's own "Hero (Ying xiong)" is more beautiful as this is missing cinematographer Christopher Doyle's aesthetics but Xiaoding Zhao's cinematographical debut captures a breathtaking variety of landscapes in straightforward storytelling. The sound design is as important, with lots of heavy breathing from tension and exertion.

While it's a much smaller cast than sweeping epics like "Dr. Zhivago," "Titanic" or "Gone With the Wind," it has that swept away feel of a love story amidst larger forces, even if for much of the movie its the force of nature of the geography of Ukraine and a bamboo forest national park, which forcefully reminded me of an elementary school unit my son's class did on how bamboo is stronger than steel.

"Warriors of Heaven and Earth (Tian di ying xiong)" showed that spectacular scenery can be a backdrop for a pedestrian movie. But like "Hero," the enormous canvas is background for zooming in on three enormously charismatic actors in a passionate and unexpectedly tricky love triangle.

Ziyi Zhang needs to watch someone other than Mary Pickford, especially some Susan Sarandon or Jeanne Moreau, to learn that there's more levels in projecting romance than smoldering ratcheting right up to jump his bones, but one has to make some allowances as this is the first as sexy as this Chinese movie and the romance does recall pre-Code Hollywood. Her beautiful shoulders are used quite provocatively.

Takeshi Kaneshiro is ravishingly captivating but Andy Lau gives him a run for your heart in surprises that revolve around the unusual plot point of a woman's willingness being paramount, which is refreshing and adds suspense and emotion to the story.

The closing Kathleen Battle song is a bit over the top, as the music throughout verges on schmaltzy as it shamelessly reinforces what you see and hear, but you are left gasping if not weeping at the end anyway.


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