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*** Official HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS Review Thread (1 Viewer)

John Chow

Second Unit
Sep 18, 1998
I was really disappointed with the story. To be honest, I didn't think it made any sense at all, it was as if they were going out of their way to screw themselves over for absolutely no reason. For me, a movie with decent cinematography and ok effects can no way make up for a totally pathetic plot. After watching Hero, which I thought was really cool, I was expecting a lot more from HOFD. After watching the DVD, it left such a bad taste in my mouth I have pretty much forgotten the better parts of the movie.

Oh yeah, I love how some of the folks are throwing a seemingly endless supply of bamboo spears, and then, as if to answer the viewer's question of where the @#$! are they getting all those spears, the movie cuts to showing some of the guys making them on the spot. What a joke ;)


Stunt Coordinator
Oct 5, 2003
General Reaction/ No Spoilers:

I checked out House of Flying Daggers last night in NYC. I would definitely recommend seeing the film in theaters when it comes to your town. It's a beautiful film to look at with its amazing imagery, cinematography, and colors. It's an aural treat as well. The action/ special effects are unbelievable and a natural progression from director Zhang Yimou's previous film, Hero.

I went into the viewing completely spoiler free and I recommend the same. I found the story interesting, touching, heartfelt, surprising, and real in the sense that I understood the character motivations/ actions of all the principle cast.

While I enjoyed the film and will be seeing it again in theaters, there were faults. It began to drag and felt longer than its approx. 2 hour running time. There were scenes intended to be serious and emotional that came off to me and the audience as laughable. All in all I was awed by the movie but not blown away. I felt somewhat disappointed.

Obviously Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero are the two most popular wuxia films to hit the States in recent memory. If I had to personally rank these three films (which unfortunately we all like to do), I would go #1- CTHD, #2- Hero, #3- HOFD. CTHD to me was an experience and movie perfection. Hero was art at its finest and probably my favorite movie from this past year. HOFD was excellent but a tad below CTHD and Hero.

Go check the movie out and see for yourself!! :D

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1999
I think people expecting another "Hero" when going to see HoFD is a big mistake, and would easily infringe upon their enjoyment of HoFD.

I think Yimou's directorial style is in abundance in this film, and, while there are the 'cool' scenes/shots, at its core, it develops into a love story, and its scale is much smaller than "Hero" and not even the same type of story.

By the end of the film, I got caught up in 3rd act, and I think it's beautifully set up and wrings out as much emotional content as possible from the given situation and characters. To me, that's Yimou's main focus in making this film, and he carries it off well.

I give it 3.5 stars, or a grade of B+.

Jason Harbaugh

Senior HTF Member
Jul 30, 2001
Just saw it tonight. Storywise and overall plot, I enjoyed Hero more but the visual beauty and sound design on this are truly incredible. I watched it in an Imax theatre and the echo game about knocked me out of my chair. Very intense but you could make out every little detail in the mix. Plus it just keeps going and going, so I know that scene will be very neighbor-unfriendly on DVD. ;)

Once you reached the bamboo I pretty muched guessed on how the story would play out. Not original but enjoyable none-the-less.

I second that. She is a rare beauty indeed. :D

Randy Korstick

Senior HTF Member
Feb 24, 2000
I caught this at the theaters on December 31st and loved it. Best movie I saw this year. I liked Hero better than Crouching Tiger and HOFD better than both of them but they all are very different films to be fair. Beautiful film, great story with interesting twists and a great music score as well. Just don't expect a martial arts movie none of the above are martial arts movies.
My wife is from Taiwan and she hated Crouching Tiger because of the confused storyline mixing too many westernized ideals to make a more Hollywood film(but hey it worked as it was a big hit in the US). She liked Hero pretty well and loved House of Flying Daggers. I enjoyed all three. My ratings on a 5 star scale would be:
Crouching Tiger: :star: :star: :star: 1/2
Hero: :star: :star: :star: :star:
House of Flying Daggers: :star: :star: :star: :star: 1/2
Can't wait for the Region One DVD. I will be buying the Soundtrack as well.

Robert Crawford

Senior HTF Member
Dec 9, 1998
Real Name
This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "House of Flying Daggers". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.


andrew markworthy

Senior HTF Member
Sep 30, 1999
I love HOFD's visual style - the colours are ravishing, the set design and cinematography are wonderful, and like Hero, this is a film that is a feast for the eyes.

However, I really couldn't find the story particularly engaging. The plot follows the standard cookie cutter formula for mainstream Eastern cinema that the main protagonsists will end updying heroically/tragically.
Insert in the usual cliched musings about conflicts of personal needs and loyalties against the greater good and you have what to my eyes is a rather predictable film. If you've seen more than a couple of films in this genre before, it will hold absolutely no surprises.

In short, they are the direct counterparts of Western action films. Although of the ostensible aims are different, the components are predictable to exactly the same extent.

PLOT - Western = against the odds, the main protagonists win through; Eastern = against the odds, the main protagonists die

MOTIVATION - Western = central protagonsists working towards personal fulfilment, often against the demands or wishes of a controlling power or cause. Eastern - central protagonists working towards fulfilling the needs of a central power or cause against the conflicting desires for personal fulfillment.

ACTION SEQUENCES - Western = carefully choreographed action sequences involving improbable car chases and masses of CGI effects; Eastern = carefully choreographed action sequences involving improbable fight sequences with CGI assistance

ACTING - Western - ranging from dire to surprisingly good, but with a tendency to slightly exaggerated performances. Eastern - exactly the same

However, I think a lot of folks in the West are getting excited about films such as HOFD as if they are an utterly new and vibrant form. I think the more mudane truth is that the only difference between East and West is that on the whole films such as HOFD have a rather more obvious visual appeal.

Edwin Pereyra

Senior HTF Member
Oct 26, 1998
From the alterna thread:

Zhang Yimou’s House of Flying Daggers almost borders on being pornographic. No, not because it contains some explicit sex scenes but instead, the manner in which one would want to watch it after finding out what it is all about. Unlike Yimou’s mystical and poetic Hero, which is also full of intrigue, Daggers does not have any real story of consequence. Here the fight scenes are the main attraction and one almost wants the director to hurry up and skip through all the drivel that is coming out of the actors’ mouths because of an insignificant love story that is used only to spread out the action set pieces.

Yimou’s martial arts sequences including Zhang Ziyi’s operatic ballet dance in a circle of standing drums are elaborate, at times, mesmerizing and can be a lot of fun. However, a preposterous story coupled by a lack of a strong trio of characters to care about as to who wins out in a insipid love triangle drags the rest of the film.

House of Flying Daggers is a collection of martial arts sequences and nothing more. If you catch this in the theaters, be prepared for some ho-hum moments in between fight scenes. But if you watch it on DVD, you can at least hit that fast forward button to get quickly to the next one. Oh, and those who complained as to how a blind girl can run so fast through the woods in The Village, will definitely have a field day with this one.


Dave Hackman

Stunt Coordinator
Jan 11, 2000
The House of Flying Liars is a more appropriate title. This movie is just one big lie. Get to know a character and develop a relationship with them just to find out they are not who they claim to be. Not till the ending are you fully aware of who is really who. I would like to see this again to observe how each act now knowing who they really are.

This is without a doubt one of the best-looking movies I’ve seen. Gorgeous backgrounds that seem relaxing and peaceful soon fill with the blood of fallen foes that are impaled with flying daggers, arrows and swords. I don’t think one could ask for a nicer place to die.

The sound was impressive with loud explosive moments that rocked the theater. Boy that girl could really scream when things weren’t going her way.

The dialog was actually intelligent and flowed well unlike Hero, which seemed written for children.

The ending went on forever and it appeared as if the director had to be pried away from his baby. I bet he would put another 25 min of snowy footage if allowed.

All this and I still liked it enough to watch again. I would like to see this on HD-DVD


Walter Kittel

Senior HTF Member
Dec 28, 1998
Some critics ( I can't recall specific citations ) have compared House of Flying Daggers to Hollywood musicals of a bygone era. I find that to be an apt comparison, with the storyline exisiting as a framework to connect a series of elaborately choreographed sequences which I found to be astonishingly beautiful.

While I agree that character development is not the film's forte, I did find the chemistry between Mei ( Zhang Ziyi ) and Jin ( Takeshi Kaneshiro ) to be quite appealing. IMHO, Zhang Ziyi has become a more accomplished actress over the years and was very effective in her role. The film's stunning visual components are the centerpiece of this work; my expectations for the actors were more than met in a film that did not rely upon strongly developed characters to carry the film. Also, I found the film's denouement to be emotionally effective, which reflects upon the performances of the film's lead characters.

Getting back to the analogies to musicals, one of the real strengths of the film is its choreography especially with regards to editing and framing of scenes. There are some fairly quick cuts in the film but director Zhang Yimou does stay with some shots and allows the viewer to visualize the setting in a style or rhythm that stands out from the sameness of many contemporary action films.

Highly recommended for fans of visual filmmaking.

- Walter.

P.S. Anyone making comparisons to The Village's Ivy running through a forest as a criticism of House of Flying Daggers wasn't paying attention. It is revealed towards the end of the film that Mei is only feigning blindness.

Tim Glover

Senior HTF Member
Jan 12, 1999
Monroe, LA
Real Name
Tim Glover
Did a search and 2 review threads showed up but since this is the official one, I'll post here.

Been wanting to see this for awhile and just never got around to it. Finally, thanks to Blockbuster Online, got this the other day.

I really, really liked House Of Flying Daggers. Until the wonderful Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon film I would have never dreamed of watching such a film. But that one won me over, & it was my favorite film for 2000.

Flying Daggers is different enough but similar too...The cinematography was downright GORGEOUS! Man, I wish I had seen this theatrically. :frowning: ...I loved the story...the meaning behind it all too.

As good AND beautiful as Ziyi Zhang is and she is drop dead beautiful.....I think the character Jin played by Takeshi Kaneshiro stole the show. He had such a screen presence. Charming & handsome, but dangerous and mischief. I thought he was excellent in this. The rest of the cast is also effective.

The action is first rate and simply a sight to behold. This a film I would like to own and I see where it's already released in Hi-Def via Blu-ray....bet it looks breathtaking.

Just last night I revisited Hero (more on that later :))....

These thoughtful, beautifully filmed wire-fu martial arts films have made me a fan.

Solid 9/10. :)

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