House of Flying Daggers (Widescreen Edition)(2003)

by | May 17, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

House of Flying Daggers (Widescreen Edition)(2003)

Starring: Ziyi Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau
Directed by: Zhang Yimou
Studio: Sony Pictures
Video: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Chinese, English, and French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles and Captions: English, French
Extras: Commentary with director Zhang Yimou and actor Ziyi Zhang; two
featurettes (“The Making of House of Flying Daggers” and “Creating the
Visual Effects”); Storyboard comparisons; Costumes gallery; Photo
gallery; “Lovers” music video; Previews
Length: 119 minutes
Rating: ***

The House of Flying Daggers is a revolutionary gang that is attempting
to overthrow the corrupt government of the Tang Dynasty. A blind female
dancer named Mei is believed to have ties with this gang. After her
capture by government soldiers, two officers, Leo and Jin, devise a
plan to have Mei lead them to The House of Flying Daggers. Jin pretends
to rescue Mei in hopes of gaining her trust. However, Jin begins to
develop true feelings of affection for Mei, which puts his mission in
jeopardy. Things become even more complicated as both Leo and Mei have
secrets of their own that later surface. I have mixed feelings about
this movie. On a positive note, it is a visually beautiful movie with
outstanding fight choreography, superb cinematography, and dazzling use
of color. The plot, however, has some serious deficiencies and the
pacing is somewhat slow. I did not enjoy this film anywhere near as
much as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but it is nonetheless worth a
viewing if for nothing more than its visual qualities. Fans of the
genre will want to own the DVD for its decent extras but others may
want to consider renting before purchasing. Recommended.

The overall video quality of this DVD is very good. Images, while
occasionally soft, are otherwise clean with nice detail. Colors are
vivid and bright with fully saturated hues. Picture defect mastering is
solid with no major flaws or artifacts. The overall audio quality is
also very good with the English dubbed Dolby Digital 5.1 track serving
as the basis for this review. The soundtrack mix features a pleasing
balance between the forward and rear soundstages. Dialogue is
intelligible and firmly anchored in the center channel. The surround
channels are moderately active, incorporate several split channel
effects, and are used for both ambient sounds and the music score. The
low frequency channel is crisp and taut.

— Calvin Harding Jr.