House of Flying Daggers - More good Zhang

20th Century Fox
Duration: 119min
Category: action
Available: On DVD
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Zhang is at it again. Just months after North American audiences finally got to enjoy his breathtaking masterpiece Hero on the big screen, Zhang's latest film hits theatres. Like Hero, Daggers is filled with spectacular fighting sequences set before a gorgeous colour palette. However, this film shares more in common with his earlier, quieter film, The Road Home.

That film was a quaint romance and despite all the action, Daggers is essentially a romantic film itself. Unlike Hero, this time it's the action which takes a back seat to the romance, not the other way around. The fighting is only there to intensify the emotion and bring the power of the story to the forefront. This is a simple Romeo and Juliet story done with Zhang's incredible flair.

Zhang knows how to exploit the visual medium that is film. His films are always strikingly beautiful but never at the expense of the story. His visual elements always strongly support the emotion, drama and motivation of the narrative. Both wuxia like Hero and an historical romance like The Rode Home are strong in this area.

Like the latter film, the star at the centre of this picture is Ziyi Zhang. The Crouching Tiger beauty comes into her own here exuding the star power necessary to carry the film. She is magnetic, dangerous, delicate and remarkably sexy all at the same time.

The film works mostly due to the chemistry she has with co-star Takeshi Kaneshiro of Chungking Express fame who is almost an equal beauty to his more famous leading lady. Together the two form a classic romantic pairing that fills the movie's operatic romance to the brim.

This film is a little more light-weight than his other work but still completely satisfying for those who like their movies to work on a number of levels. Beautiful, exciting and tragic, Daggers is the kind of movie to enjoy on the big screen as no television will do it justice.

Review By: Collin Smith

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