THANKS to his longtime partnership with Hong Kong action director Tony Ching Siu-Tung, Zhang Yimou's films often showcase jaw-dropping airborne stunt choreography. Using a combination of kung fu and wire work, known as "wire fu," in 2003's "Hero," actors sailed over Chinese landscapes in fluttering robes; in 2004's "House of Flying Daggers," police and military threw mid-air punches and kicks high above open fields and bamboo groves.
In their latest movie, "Curse of the Golden Flower," the filmmakers raise the wire-fu bar again.
Until now, a typical scene using wire fu included a maximum of 10 to 15 martial artists dangling from wires hoisted on cranes up to 70 feet off the ground. But for a fight scene in "Curse," featuring masked swordsmen battling an escaping family on horses in a narrow, remote valley in the Szechwan province, Yimou and Siu-Tung doubled prior wire-fu records, hoisting 30 martial artists on wires more than 600 feet long.