Thursday 30th December 2004

Three months and four days had passed since our last installment. Expectations were high, more so by the extended marketing exposure given this time around. Rather than billboards on the tube, there had been lavish television spots on the build up to the big day. The posters bore a striking resemblance to the final two from the Matrix trilogy. However, before I get to the action, let me start at the beginning. As soon as I saw the trailer for the movie, I contacted Nav and asked if he wanted to go and see the picture. He had been the one, to introduce Hero to me back in mid September 2003. Who was to know that almost exactly twelve months later, we would go and enjoy the experience on wide screen, having seen the first half on flaking VCD. The release date was awkward to say the least. Boxing Day. For a few weeks, it seemed that we would be unable to catch the epic story at the cinema. Nav was going to be in Manchester with relatives and would not be coming down towards London for some time. As chance would have it, Nav would be dropping his sister down in Ealing yesterday and would be able to catch the movie in the afternoon. As well made plans usually do, things changed. Instead we decided to catch the early evening performance, giving plenty of time to allow from the journey from Lincolnshire.

I left Wycombe just before 4pm, to make sure I did not get stuck in traffic on the A40. As usual, the roads were relatively clear and I made great time heading towards Ealing. I arrived just after 4.30pm, giving Nav a call on his mobile. It was off, sending me directly to his generic T-Mobile answer phone. This was a surprise, because he never has his phone off, unless unwittingly he has let the battery drain away. I waited for a short while, a few minutes more and then began to panic. Not a mad panic, but a mild panic, considering the options open to me if my friend did not materialise. Going to the cinema on your own is an experience I would not like to repeat, so therefore my plan was to wait until 5pm and then head over to the multiplex for a refund. Then head home and catch the big game in full. (Rather than catching only three quarters, as would be the case). Just as I was giving up, I looked out of my window and saw some bright headlights heading towards. The car, I recognised, as it pulled up directly in front of me. I smiled, my phone bleeped. Delivery report received. Nav had finally switched on his phone. We were present and correct and headed over to Vue in Acton. It was busy, but I found a parking space quite quickly and headed into the foyer. There was a large queue, one automatic ticket dispenser out of action. My attempts to obtain our tickets from the working machine did not work. No other option but the queue. This was a bad evening for the staff, the LCD information screen was out of action, so the details of film availability had to be given verbally (by leaving the safety of the booth). A man in charge fixed the second ticket dispenser, jumping out of the queue (a mistake) to once again attempt to have my cinema tickets printed. Did not work. So, we had to get back into queue to get our tickets. The clock was ticking, the film started in 5.45 and we had a few minutes to go.

Well after that episode or rather fuss over the tickets, I was actually looking forward to sitting down and watching the movie. With chocolate mint ice cream in one, hand and regular coke (with ice) in the other, I headed into the audiodoritium. Busy, but by no means full, we found some seats to the middle of the upper tear on the right. To compare The House of Flying Daggers with any other film I have seen, would be criminal. However, using Hero as a base has to be expected. My real criticism is with the storyline, although it did contained the customary twists and turns, even romance, it lacked the layered approached which made the previous film such a great success. The actors were average but it needed more star quality to get the passion across, as the story is based more on love than rivalry or a feuding battle. The direction is amazing, with some integral fight scenes and clever special effects. The plot is much more easier to follow although I think the ending becomes obvious far too quickly and then the pace slows down to compensate for the lack of action in these scenes. Shame because this could have been developed further. This got me thinking, why do people go and watch these films? The storyline come secondary to the action sequences. Therefore more time and money is spent on these parts of the movie rather than any other, which is understandable. You want to get as many people through the door as possible. I would therefore only recommend this picture to those who enjoy the genre. Otherwise you will leave disappointed.

I have been nominated as the best blog friend by Andrew Guilder. If you can recall this is the guy, I happened to sit next to on the National Express coach from Birmingham to Leicester exactly seven months yesterday. So feel free and vote. My blog of the poorest quality in comparison to the other five nominations. Make sure that comes into consideration when you place your vote.

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