Takeshi Kaneshiro, Ziyi Zhang
All the drama, color and spectacular set pieces missing from Alexander, director Oliver Stone's droning historical bore, can be found here. For sheer scale, sweep and applaud-out-loud-in-the-theater fight scenes, it's hard to top House of Flying Daggers, the latest mini-epic (running time: a sane two hours) by Chinese director Zhang Yimou (Hero).
This fictional tale, set in 859 A.D., centers on a beautiful, blind woman warrior (Zhang) who belongs to a rebel group called the House of Flying Daggers. She is caught and imprisoned by the Emperor's men, but escapes with the help of one of them (Kaneshiro). Is he in love with her or just using her to uncover the leader of her group? Daggers is operatic in its acting style and emotional pitch but is played with conviction and has such visual panache that the sheer absurdity of its plot hardly matters. (PG-13)