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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2315)

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House of Flying Daggers ( Shi mian mai fu ) 
"House Of Flying Daggers" by Yojimbo
3.5/4 stars

A provincial guardsman goes undercover and breaks a blind swordswoman out of prison to discover the location of a secret society of rebellious assassins. Zhang Yimou's follow up to Hero is a similarly stunning combination of artistic visuals and beautifully choreographed martial arts, but this time he throws an epic story of unrequited love into the mix. The story's format is another favourite of Chinese cinema, that of the undercover cop with divided loyalties, but blended with mythical fantasy and star crossed lovers it plays out almost like The Departed crossed with Romeo And Juliet. This makes for a more complex character dynamic than that of Hero and therefore a more engaging story, although it does suffer similarly to the previous film in that it can feel like the plot is just a series of excuses for yet another visually glorious set piece. For that reason Zhang is probably once again guilty of style over substance, but what style it is. Addendum: I cannot recommend the Blu Ray release as the picture quality is little better than the DVD, which is a real shame considering the sheer visual beauty of the film.


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