Starring: Takeshi Kaneshiro and Andy Lau. Chinese language with English subtitles.
Director: Yimou Zhang
TO review the plot in House of Flying Daggers takes only a line – the police are out to unmask the head of a rebel group who rob the rich and help the poor.
And, in fact, we really see very little of this at all, just some scenes of the police planning an undercover job (although this is China in 859 AD, so that sounds a little anachronistic, but that is what happens) and a few confrontations.
So what happens the rest of the time? That is worth seeing.
First, there are some dances in The Pink Pavillion of great beauty and acrobatic grace. This is all choreographed exquisitely.
Most of the rest is fights in the forest, most of it “Crouching Tiger” style. Again the choreography is exquisite with perfect timing (admittedly some swordplay and a lot of deadly accurate flying daggers).
Much of the forest is bamboo. How the soldiers all got to the top of the trees and are able to walk and fly there is beyond credibility.
But it doesn’t matter, it looks wonderful.
Finally, there is tragedy and battle in the snow. This is extraordinarily beautiful film-making.