How the same talented director (Zhang Yimou of "The Road Home" and "Raise the Red Lantern"), working with the same talented actress (lovely Zhang Ziyi of "The Road Home" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") could turn out one of the year's best movies and one its worst -- in the same genre no less -- is a complete mystery. But that's exactly what has happened with a pair of handsomely grandiose martial arts films set in ancient China.
Last summer's "Hero," starring Jet Li as an assassin locked in unblinking intellectual combat with the king he's come to kill, is an imaginatively allegorical, action-packed but understated, brilliant historical epic (in which Zhang Ziyi plays another assassin's apprentice). Pure in vision and bold in execution, it uses real events as a momentous backdrop for jaw-dropping scenes of graceful, physics-defying swordfights, each of which has an increasingly profound consequence on the future of the whole Chinese nation.
But "House of Flying Daggers" is the polar opposite: an outsized and endlessly pretentious romantic melodrama, also about assassins, in which the director has clearly lost any sense of moderation or self-discipline. Every overly polished moment of visual refinement is dragged out to the point of absurdity. Every hint of emotion becomes an excuse for floodgate histrionics. Each swordfight (or combat of any kind) slowly, slowly, s-l-o-w-l-y builds past an initial stage of breathtaking stylishness into a protracted mockery of itself. It's the snooty, art-house equivalent of a Jerry Bruckheimer action movie.
Continue reading: House Of Flying Daggers Review
The singer was discovered dead on Thursday morning.
Get hold of one of these t-shirts exclusively in UK stores.
The director realises that everybody has "their own relationship" with the franchise.
The nation mourns the loss of a rising star.
The actress believes the HBO series has seen the treatment of women in TV change.
It’s only taken 53 years, but veteran Mary Poppins star Dick Van Dyke has at last offered an apology for what he called “the most atrocious...
Tyga's new album 'B***h I'm the S**t' is his ''resurrection'' following a high profile relationship with Kylie Jenner.