Shi mian mai fu

Shi mian mai fu (2004)Looking for some martial arts movie to watch, I cam across “Shi mian mai fu” (aka “House of Flying Daggers”). It was made in China and had both a good title and a covering picture, so I fell for it.

Directed by: Yimou Zhang
Genres: Action, Drama, Romance
Cast: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau, Ziyi Zhang, Dandan Song
IMDB raintg: 7.6
My rating: 7.0 *******

It wasn’t a pure martial arts movie per se. It was a dramatic love story with few fights in it. While the fights were outstanding and in the best traditions of Chinese martial arts movies of modern times, I realized that it’s the wrong kind (by wrong kind I mean that it wasn’t the movie that I was wanting to see) of movie far too late. It happened way after the midfilm, when I got tired of waiting for a fight and none came. Usually, when I get tired of waiting, the fight starts. And it didn’t. So, I stopped and checked IMDB page for the movie. Action, drama, romance. Call me odd by I got disapponted.

The beauty of the film though still caught up with me. Since I was way deep into the movie and very close to the end, I decided to finish watching it rather than stopping. It was only than that I realized how good the film was. The drama was intense, the acting was strong and the story was with a few twists, shifting the role of the bad guy from person to person.

And the ending was perfect. It was intense and unpredictable. Not unpredictable in the way when you don’t know what will happen, but in a way when you have several choices for the ending and you don’t know which one the director will go, until he goes.

I also enjoyed the photography and music during the whole film. Luckily, I pay always pay attention for these during any kind of movie, and so I could appreciate the work done here. Oh, and I also have to mention the dance with the long sleves in the beginning of the movie – it was oustanding too.

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