Neon and I watched House of Flying Daggers last night. ***spoilers***
It wasn't a bad movie but it didn't live up to my expectations, even though I enjoyed it and will probably own it. It had beautiful costumes, great vistas, and kickass fighting, but that should all be secondary to a great story, which unfortunately this does not have.
The backstory of the movies involves a secret faction called The House of the Flying Daggers. They have risen up to fight the tyrannical government officials. Two police officers, Leo and Jin, are given the task of killing the new leader of the Flying Daggers. They hear a rumor that a new dancer at the local brothel is actually a member and they decide to arrest her. After doing so they hatch a plan to have Jin break her free and have her take him back to the Flying Daggers headquarters. On the way, Jin and the dancer, Mei, fall in love. A little too predictable.
Doesn't sound like a bad plot and it's not, but the movie doesn't do a good job with it. It jumps around a lot, has twists that don't make sense, the backstory isn't developed enough that they could have left it out and nobody would have cared. The characters don't get developed enough either. When they die, I didn't care enough about them to be moved. Storywise this movie failed.
I pretty much felt the same after I watched Warriors of Heaven and Earth. Great cinematography, fighting, costumes, but lacking in story. Neither one made me care about the characters like Hero and Crouching... did.
Bottom line: good but not great.