In the early 2000s, there was a brief love affair between mainstream American cinema and the wuxia epics of China, sparked by the critical and financial success of Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and extended through the efforts of director Zhang Yimou, who made Hero and this film back-to-back. Daggers is arguably the most visually striking of the three, and definitely the least coherent. It's to Yimou's credit as a visual storyteller that narrative coherence ain't shit when there's this much kinetic beauty in every frame. None of what's happening really makes any sense, but the intended feelings kick you in your chest all the same.
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