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Film Reviews

Review: House of the Flying Daggers

We saw HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS in the ArcLight Cinemas’ Cinerama Dome over the weekend, and were quite impressed. Although not as colorful HERO, director Yimou Zhang’s previous film, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS is still gorgeous: great costumes, great sets, great locations, great cast, and great fight scenes.

In short, there’ s more than enough beauty to fill up the huge screen inside the Cinerama Dome. Not only that — the music sounds great on the Dome’s stereo system. If you want to see HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS at its best, make the trek down to Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. You will be glad you did.

The only thing I don’t understand is why HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS is receiving a limited release only in New York and Los Angeles, as if it were an art house film with limited financial prospects. Although HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS is somewhat less ambitious than HERO, its appeal is actually far broader, with a tear-jerker love story that could draw in women viewers who might not usually see a film filled with martial arts action.

In fact, even martial arts fans might find the story more emotionally involving and satisfying than HERO, which was a bit of a formal experiment. Both films mix elements of romance and tragedy, but HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS puts these elements front and center, milking them for all their worth. And if the ending is filled with sadness and tears, so what? That didn’t stop CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON from becoming a blockbuster.

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.