House of Flying Daggers (PG-13) 2004
Magnificent! Gorgeous! Tragic. That may look like one of the cheesy quotes from the front of a DVD clamshell, but those three words accurately sum up House of Flying Daggers. Like his previous work as director of Hero, Yimou Zhang uses lush colors to paint the backdrop for elaborate staging and complex syncopation of actors' movements to create what might be best described as a martial arts ballet. Stunning sequences, both dramatic and violent play over a beautiful soundtrack. Takeshi Kaneshiro (of Returner) plays Jin, a military captain sent to find the secret camp to assassinate the new leader of House of Flying Daggers. To aid in his quest, Jin befriends Mei (played by Ziyi Zhang of Crouching Tiger and Musa the Warrior) a member of the Flying Daggers, in hopes of tricking her into leading him to the camp. Things don't go quite as planned as Jin finds not everyone around him is who they seem to be. While Hero offered the star power of Jet Li, House of Flying Daggers is a more compelling story set toward the end of China's Tang Dynasty. Both English and Madarin subtitles are available. This movie is currently available only on DVD, in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and only from very select outlets.