The 42nd New York Film Festival (2004)
House of Flying Daggers (2004) -R-
Directed by: Yimou Zhang
Written by: Feng Li, Bin Wang, Yimou Zhang
Starring: Andy Lau, Zhang Ziyi, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Dandan Song
Yimou ZhangÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Attempt to be Ang Lee
At the U.S. premiere at the 2004 New York Film Festival of Yimou ZhangÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new martial arts follow up to Hero, he said before the movie that he was concerned to have a bamboo scene in this film, due to his appreciation for the amazing scene in Ang LeeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to copy that scene. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s too bad that House of Flying Daggers seems to be trying to duplicate Lee in more ways than one.
Members of the House of Flying Daggers take from the rich and give to the poor, like Robin Hood. The government wants them dead for this. The dead leader of the Flying Daggers has a blind daughter. When a blind courtesan tries to attack the General, Leo, they think sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the daughter and arrest her. Leo busts her out, because he says heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s against the government too. Is he there to help get her home? Is he in cahoots with the government?
House of Flying Daggers has more twists and turns than Hero, and more moles and double agents than Infernal Affairs. By the end, what Zhang tries to pass off as deep seeded feelings and relationships, just becomes a laughable mess. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s obviously trying to copy the emotional and romantic relationships that work so well in Crouching Tiger, but the plot is too complicated to be pulled off effectively.
Despite the convoluted storyline, the action scenes are pretty amazing, as well as the sound. The bamboo scene may not upstage the one in Crouching Tiger, but it sure is action packed. Unfortunately, by the end, the action gets just as ridiculous as the plot, as certain characters supposedly die, but keep coming back to life. It reminded me of the sappy ending in Far and Away where Tom CruiseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s character woke up after the camera panned out like he was dead. And the snow scene seems like a poor manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s version of the brilliant finale in Kill Bill: Volume 1.
Instead of sticking to his highly praised remarkable dramatic filmsÃ¢â‚¬â€