In House of Flying Daggers, the people of China suffer beneath the reign of the oppressive Chang dynasty. A group of fighters called The House of Flying Daggers has become a threat to the establishment. Two local police officers, Jin and Leo, fresh off killing the last leader of the Flying Daggers, plot for a way to kill the new leader. They follow a tip to a new brother in town. They suspect a new blind girl there could be tied to the Flying Daggers and could be the daughter of the old leader.
Jin goes to the brothel to check things out. The new girl, Mei, is a rare beauty with some impressive skills. Leo arrests her after she attempts to assassinate him and threatens to torture her if she won’t squeal about the new leader of the Flying Daggers. But she won’t squeal. Jin and Leo hatch a plan to find the new leader. Jin helps Mei to escape the prison and poses as a horny drifter just going wherever life takes him. And maybe, just maybe, life will take him to the new leader of the Flying Daggers.
While Jin is frolicking through the woods seducing Mei, policemen who grow increasingly aggressive attack them. In one melee, Jin is wounded by one of the officers who does not recognize him. Jin learns from Leo that a big-time general has become involved in the operation. The general has no respect for the life of his own men and wanted blood spilled in order to assure Mei that Jin is the real deal. The general’s men don’t know that Jin is undercover. His efforts to kill him and Mei grow increasingly deadly, until finally they’re surrounded by the general’s men in a bamboo forest and are saved by the flying daggers of the Flying Daggers.
They Flying Daggers know Jin is a phony. Not it’s Jin’s turn to learn a thing or two. It turns out Mei isn’t the old leader’s daughter. It turns out Mei isn’t even blind. She is actually a woman though. Leo, who was a double agent loyal only to the Flying Daggers, tricked Jin into luring the general and his army into a trap set by the Flying Daggers. Leo and Mei are old lovers. But Mei is all business. She refuses to rekindle her love with Leo. When Leo realizes that Mei is in love with that no-good playboy Jin, he tries to rape her. But he’s stopped when the new leader of the Flying Daggers puts a knife in his back and tells him to stop getting busy and to get busy luring the general into their trap.
Mei is ordered to take Jin out and kill him. She kills him. Well, sort of. She actually makes love to him in a meadow and lets him go. Jin pleads with Mei to go with him, but Mei refuses. She’s loyal to the Flying Daggers and won’t desert. They part, but Mei soon regrets it. As she comes back for Jin, Jin likewise regrets his choice and returns to be with Mei. As Mei returns to the field to find Jin, a dagger strikes her, planting deep near her heart, driving her unconscious. It was Leo’s dagger. He couldn’t stand her being with Jin and would kill her first.
Jin returns and finds trouble with the distraught Leo. They fight over Mei and come to a bloody standstill as snow covers the forest around them. The snow wakes Mei as Leo pulls the dagger from his back and threatens to throw it at Jin. They all know that one throw of the dagger would be impossible to defeat. Mei threatens to pull the dagger from her chest to kill Leo if he throws his dagger at Jin. Leo only flicks his knife at Jin, but Mei takes the bait. She throws the dagger from her chest perfectly. But instead of killing Leo, she saved Jin. But Leo didn’t throw his dagger, and her perfect throw only deflects a single drop of blood flying toward Jin.
Jin runs to Mei as the last of Mei’s life bleeds through the knife wound, and weeps. Leo staggers away in the snow, perhaps dying himself. And the film closes with Jin singing to Mei a song about a rare Chinese beauty, whose beauty was such that cities and kingdoms fell by her look.