peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2011 11 20 HouseOfFlyingDaggers

House of Flying Daggers

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Another Zhang Yimou visual feast. The bamboo forests are gorgeous. They must be running out of narrative novelty to make Zhang Yiyi a blind martial artiste; I think they should try doing one that has no plot at all. I'm not much of an Andy Lau fan, I must say; he seems inexpressive and overbearing too often. Takeshi Kaneshiro was also in Chungking Express; here he looks too much like Orlando Bloom in full elfin regalia.

I'm beginning to see the point of Hong Kong martial arts flicks: there's so much dancing and music, and so little blood that they serve as date movies. They are visually more sumptuous than the typical American rom com, but probably just as normative. This one takes it for granted that the government troops are canon fodder (so to speak), and that the government is corrupt, I guess.

Western movies demand we suspend disbelief; the unbelievable stuff (martial arts) in The Matrix is done in cyberspace, and we need that clearly delineated fake space so we can philosophise about what's real and mrak's homunculus theory and so forth. This movie takes it for granted, not even trying to rationalise the lack of reality; this may have been Bob Carr's complaint about Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: It doesn't ask for disbelief, it assumes it.