House of Flying Daggers is a martial arts movie with a fairy tale-esque plot. Directed by Zhang Yimou, the mastermind behind the Oscar nominated Hero, this film follows the same path. It is crafted with vibrant and colorful action scenes centered on the film’s star, the always stunning Ziyi Zhang, who plays Mei.
The plot is filled with more double crosses than you can count as it climaxes with a lovers duel for Mei’s affection. Despite the nonstop action, the plot twists, and gorgeous cinematography, the plot is predictable and boring. (I’m not proud to admit this, but I found myself fastfowarding to the martial arts scenes.)
It is these brilliantly directed action sequences that save House of Flying Dagger from being painstakingly awful. The plot is clearly not it’s strength, nor does it intend to be.
Most importantly, this movie looks best on the bigget screen you can find. The Echo Game scene, featuring slow-motion shots of pebbles hitting drums and Ziyi Zhang leaping between the drums as her dress sleeves fly, was a personal highlight.