The Good

Watching this movie on the PSP, I felt as if I was viewing something in 3-D. The picture quality is amazingly clear.

The Bad

Sadly, this film has so much imagery and nuance that it makes it's story seem boring.

Okay, other than there being war and a love story, I was pretty lost during my screening of House of Flying Daggers. Anybody who has followed my reviews of Asian Cinema, pretty much knows that I don't go for these films set with the letters AD after them. I can't explain what it is but once I see that this is the time period that the movie is taking place in, I just shut off. This is one of those films that's for people that put visuals ahead of dialogue. Personally, I don't so this movie really didn't hold too much for me. There is a lot of imagery and fight scenes, but aren't people tiring of seeing battles between people that are so obviously staged?

House of Flying Daggers is a movie that is expertly made, superbly crafted and leaves me snoozing throughout. I'm not saying every movie should be "down and dirty," but do they have to be this stilted?


No extras came with this UMD.


Widescreen. With no bars on the top or bottom of the screen, I am starting to think that this is the best way to watch a UMD on the PSP. I may not like the imagery and use of color in this movie, but man, it looks AWESOME on this screen. Anytime an actor was in the foreground of the picture it seemed like I was watching something in 3-D without needing to use the glasses. How this movie plays on this system is, in my opinion, the best thing about it and since I had to review this film, I am glad that I got to see it on a PSP before any other medium.


2.0 Dolby Stereo. Okay, can we stop with the flowery/drum beating music that is in every single one of these movies? I hate to come down do hard on a film that really is trying to say something, but man, these movies are just so dull. They hinge on stories that try and have such big symbolism, yet all that does is foreshadow the entire movie. Look, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a phenomenon (for whatever reason), but change the playbook already!


The front cover has a picture of our 3 stars with soldiers marching on the top of the picture and a battle where a man is outnumbered (but winning; what a surprise) on the bottom. The back features more of this type of imagery, a description of the movie and some technical specs. I really dislike covers for films where you can take one look at it and tell everything about the movie. While at first Ziyi Zhang being blind was interesting, as the film unfolded I realized that it was just par for the course.

Final Word

From a purely visual standpoint this movie looks amazing. Sadly, I think that has more to do with the quality of the picture on the PSP than it does with House of Flying Daggers as a piece of cinema. Were it not for how good this movie looked on here (and at 119 minutes they were really pushing my patience), I don't know that this review would have been as complimentary as it's been.

At the end of the day, I think my opinion of movies like House of Flying Daggers are in the minority. People seem to like this spoon-fed symbolism and as the money people say, "Where there's a wallet, there's a way."

House of Flying Daggers was released May 19, 2004.