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Marvel's Black Widow Review - More of the Same

If today's cinema world was a closet and you pull something out of it, you'd find yourself a superhero costume 70 percent of the times. Marvel's Black Widow is just another pretty looking and flashy costume, with little to no design modifications. Nonetheless, its an entertaining film and here's our verdict.  Film  – Marvel's Black Widow (2021) Duration  – 2h 14 m Director  – Cate Shortland Main Cast - Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour Rating  – 3 / 5 (It's a spoiler-free review) Black Widow acts as a fitting tribute to MCU's fan-favorite character but at the same time it is just more of the same stuff we see in a superhero flick. For one thing this film is about 5 years too late and for another, it doesn't really do anything for Black Widow's character or MCU as a whole. In my opinion it was just a cheap trick to encash the fans' emotions after losing her in Avengers: Endgame. Well, its not a bad film

House of Flying Daggers - An Exhilarating Tale of Love, Deceit and Phenomenal Action

Sometimes all you need to watch is something insanely visually satisfying and action packed film with a sensible and engaging storyline. In such a mood, what could serve you better than a well captured Chinese martial arts film? Today, I am gonna talk about one such film.

Film – House of Flying Daggers (2004)

Duration 1h 59m 

Director Zhang Yimou

Main Cast - Zhang Ziyi, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau and Song Dandan

Rating – 4.5 / 5 (IMDB - 7.5, RT - 87%, Metacritic - 89% )

From the Bruce Lee and 36th Chamber era to the modern day IP Man era, Chinese martial arts films have always spellbound the audience with their unique approach and out of the world camerawork. House of Flying Daggers belongs to the revolutionary era of Chinese martial arts films which gave us technical masterpieces like Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and Zhang Yimou's Hero (2002) and HOFD itself.  But the film isn't all technicalities as it boasts a powerful cast ensemble and a highly engaging storyline. 

Xiao Mei Zhang Zei House of Flying Daggers
(Image: © Edko Films)

House of Flying Daggers follows the story of Xiao Mei, a member of HOFD, who is accompanied by an undercover cop so that she would lead him to their leader. Xiao Mei, portrayed by Zhang Ziyi (also in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero), is undoubtedly the most interesting and well written character of the film. She did a tremendous job in selling her character to the audience as a blind dancer, highly skilled ninja and a lover. The other two main characters of the film are the undercover cop, Jin and his partner Leo, both of them deliver tremendous performances and display some deft skills as martial artists.

Mei and Jin House of Flying Daggers
(Image: © Edko Films)

The plot which seems fairly simple in the beginning, turns out to be an onion of sorts with too many layers waiting to be peeled off. I mean, it gets a bit frustrating towards the end as it seems like 3-4 seasons of Game of Thrones cluttered up into 30 minutes. So yeah, it was a bit overwritten in my opinion and that is probably the only little complaint I have with this exceptional film. It has a perfect first half and a heartbreaking yet thrilling final act and hence it only suffers from overwriting during that little part in between. Nevertheless, it made up for a very engaging and involving storyline with a lot of twists and some of which, you will not see coming. 

Ninja House of Flying Daggers
(Image: © Edko Films)

Had this been a spoiler review, I would have touched more upon the love & deceit part of the film which made up for the majority of the second half. The film has numerous lessons on true love, sacrifice involved and dilemmas, some of which might even challenge your own morals. We also see the classic duty vs love concept and wherever that is involved, a tragic ending is all but guaranteed. The last few minutes, especially are extremely tense with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly vibes and leave the audience in utter dismay. 

House of Flying Daggers Cinematography
(Image: © Edko Films)

Now is the part of the review, where I go on and on about the technicalities and make no mistake, this film is a technical triumph! With beautiful cinematography, color grading and editing, it is one of the most visually appealing films out there. Whether its a grassland, a bamboo forest, a snowy terrain or a dancing establishment, the filmmakers have given the audience some superb shots worth all your time. Also, the cinematography and editing during the action sequences is commendable.

House of Flying Daggers Colors
Cinematography and Color Grading
(Image: © Edko Films)

Which brings me to the action and oh boy, what an action it has! Amazingly choreographed and skillfully executed, the action scenes are bound to blow your minds. From sword-fighting, to flying daggers, to archery, to samurais jumping on bamboo trees; this film has got it all. Every action scene is unique and better than the last one, as there has been so much exploration of the genre in this film. My favourite among the numerous scenes, remains the bamboo forest fight as it was something out of the box. 

House of Flying Daggers Bamboo Forest
(Image: © Edko Films)

Now lets come to one of the things I found to be most impressive i.e. the sound design. The film has implemented the 5.1 surround sound technology with such brilliance that with the right equipment, the viewers would be transported on the set! I watched it on my 5.1 HT system and it was an audio visual experience worth all my time. Top that with an engaging storyline and meaningful messages, you get a film which is definitely not worth missing. So, its time to use your ninja watching powers in maximum damage mode!

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