House of Flying Daggers

Let me start by saying, “What a disappointment.”

Raquel and I watched the movie House of Flying Daggers/Shi mian mai fu starring Zhang Ziyi, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro this weekend.

I convinced Raquel to watch the movie with me because I thought it would be as good as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hero. Well, there’s also the fact that Zhang Ziyi and Andy Lau starred in the film. If I’d known then that the Takeshi Kaneshiro person was also the lead in the movie The Returner (which I liked), I’d add him as another reason to have watched it. Anyway, the trailers also convinced me that it’s going to be a kick-ass martial arts action movie (like Crouching Tiger and Hero).

I guess, after watching Crounching Tiger and Hero, my expectations for this one was just too high. Nevertheless, we both found the film a disappointment. If you haven’t watched this movie yet and plan to watch it later, don’t read further. SPOILERS AHEAD!

So, why the disappointment? Let me count the ways.

My main gripe with it is that it gave the viewers the impression that the story was about the police wanting to track down the House of Flying Daggers rebel group and to put an end to them. The bulk of the movie dealt with this except that it wasn’t resolved in the end at all. They only showed that the police was sneaking towards the House of Flying Daggers “headquarters” and that’s it. Supposedly, the police are walking into an ambush but we never get to find out what happened next.

Another complaint, though minor, was that there were no establishing shots of the police headquarters nor the brothel. Another one is that the daggers seem to have a mind of their own. The victim raises his shield, the dagger flanks him and still hits the victim. Amazing. Okay, I can probably attribute that to the thrower having the chi to control the dagger. A reach, I know but eh.

Another complaint is that Jin and Leo stabbed each other’s back with a sword and they didn’t die. At first they looked like they were about to die but then they had enough life in both of them to continue arguing with each other. Jin even had the energy to run towards Mei.

And while I’m talking about Mei, let me tell you another complaint I have that related to her. She was earlier stabbed in the heart (or maybe near her heart) by Leo. Blood gushed out of her mouth and her chest was bleeding profusely. She fell to the ground seemingly dead. Jin rode back to the scene to find Mei dead. Jin then engaged Leo in a long drawn duel. Then, Jin and Leo managed to stab each other in the back with their swords (I already said this earlier). Just when they were both about to fall over, Mei miraculously turned out to still be alive!

Wow! If the stab didn’t kill her, the loss of blood should have (she would’ve been bleeding for over 30 minutes minimum!). But no. She wasn’t dead and she even had the strength to stand up, made threats and threw a “smart” dagger before finally dying. After that, Leo, who was stabbed in the back with a dagger and a sword was able to walk away from the scene. Sure, he was limpling but what the?!

The leader of the House of Flying Daggers wasn’t revealed at all. The outcome of the battle between the police and House wasn’t shown. If these two things weren’t important to the story, they they shouldn’t have made these things seem important.

Lastly, we both thought the pacing was a bit boring.

The only thing that is good witht he film were the fight scenes. But even then, I saw better in Hero. You’re better off watching that film instead.

I want to watch Constantine next week. Hopefully that one isn’t a disappointment.

Published in: on February 20, 2005 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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