Metascore
89

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. 100
    Forget about the plot, the characters, the intrigue, which are all splendid in House of Flying Daggers, and focus just on the visuals.
  2. It's as thrilling and lushly beautiful a movie as has been released all year, matched only by Zhang's epic "Hero." And I think this film is the more powerful.
  3. The most gorgeous movie of the year. This smashing martial-arts romance from Chinese director Zhang Yimou is stunning in other ways, too, like the eroticism that ripples just beneath the surface.
  4. 100
    The movie equivalent of a 12-course feast crammed with unforgettable images and mind-boggling stunts.
  5. It's action opera, sword-and-sorcery song-and-dance, and it's a heart-pumping, jaw-dropping thrill. OK, so I kind of like the thing.
  6. 100
    By turns breathtaking and heartbreaking.
  7. He's (Yimou) like a painter combining bloody reds, sunshine yellows and pale blues in the harmony of a masterpiece.
  8. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    100
    Quite simply, House of Flying Daggers is a film that sets several new standards for production and entertainment values. It is a wild riot of color, music, passion, action, mystery, pure old-fashioned thrills and even dancing.
  9. 100
    Its exquisiteness can overwhelm in a single sitting.
  10. 100
    House of Flying Daggers finds the great Chinese director at his most romantic in this thrilling martial arts epic that involves a conflict between love and duty carried out to its fullest expression.
  11. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    100
    This is the most intoxicatingly beautiful martial arts picture I've ever seen.
  12. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    100
    The cast list is like a convocation of the Three Chinas: Taiwan's Kaneshiro, Hong Kong's Lau and the mainland's Zhang Ziyi. All are terrific, but the lady shines brightest.
  13. An astonishing combination of spectacle, suspense, martial-arts flash, sublime silliness, anti-gravity action and passionate intensity -- before and after everything else, it's a grand love story.
  14. 100
    Chinese director Zhang Yimou understands perfectly that the small can be epic and awe-inspiring. And, by the way, he knows how to get big, too.
  15. 100
    The sheer joy of letting go as a tale overwhelms your senses and drives the known world away -- that's the story.
  16. 100
    Zhang weaves in both thrilling martial-arts set pieces and stunning studies of period silk tapestry and costume.
  17. An outrageously gorgeous spectacle of balletic aggression. At the same time, it offers something we rarely encounter in a whirling martial-arts extravaganza: a romantic passion that's woven into the very fabric of the action.
  18. A glorious new addition to martial-arts cinema.
  19. I don't know if the many plot swerves withstand a second viewing, but I suspect the meat of the matter – the swooning visuals, the expert choreography, the teasing love story – does.
  20. 88
    Forget "Hero" -- that cult hit was just Zhang Yimou's warm-up for this martial-arts fireball that throws in a lyrical love story, head-spinning fights and dazzling surprises.
  21. 88
    The result is one of the most visually astonishing martial-arts fantasies ever made.
  22. 83
    The second action melodrama released in the United States this year by director Zhang Yimou, and if I prefer the previous one, "Hero," it's partly a matter of degrees.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 221 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 98
  2. Negative: 16 out of 98
  1. PhillipR.
    Jul 29, 2008
    10
    I am not a film buff and don't normally have much time for watching films, but this one just grabbed me and kept me enthralled. The I am not a film buff and don't normally have much time for watching films, but this one just grabbed me and kept me enthralled. The twists and turns of the story are mesmerizing and the beauty of Mei is captivating. The depiction of the Martial Art fighting leaves you in awe, even if a little unbelievable. The closing scenes of fighting and death leave you emotionally drained. Fantastic Full Review »
  2. Jul 9, 2014
    10
    House Of Flying Daggers is a gorgeous action movie with sumptuous cinematography and sublime
    action sequences. The movie is one of the best
    House Of Flying Daggers is a gorgeous action movie with sumptuous cinematography and sublime
    action sequences. The movie is one of the best martial arts movies made recently. If you don't like the
    story, there is always the brilliant action to entertain you.
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 12, 2012
    8
    The final fight scene appeared a bit poorly cut-together and took the sheen off an otherwise excellent film. The visuals were trulyThe final fight scene appeared a bit poorly cut-together and took the sheen off an otherwise excellent film. The visuals were truly astounding, and the "echo game" scene must be one of the most amazing pieces of choreography ever filmed. Full Review »