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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 02/26/2008

Eloquently directed and lushly photographed with a soaring mixture of well-established actors and relatively unknowns "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" won countless accolades in the West replacing Roberto Benigni's "Life is Beautiful" (1997) as the largest grossing foreign language film in the United States.

Overnight "Crouching Tiger..." became the most globally accessible martial arts film since Bruce Lee's nearly three decade old "Enter the Dragon" (1973) inadvertently giving rise to a backlash mounted by chop socky connoisseurs who panned the film as moderate, over-hyped, and westernized juxtaposed to decades of output at Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest (neither of which studio garnished a single Academy Award nomination in their respective tenures).

Veteran Hong Kong actress Michelle Yeoh, a native of Malaysia, was specifically targeted for a less than convincing Mandarin accent.

Whatever, once Yeoh (and everyone else for that fact) gets moving under the dicey direction of choreographer Yuen Wo-ping it quickly becomes a moot point not unlike the campaign's dissension on a number of other issues.

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 07/27/2005
Summary: An absolute classic...

Ang Lee's latest film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is an outstanding movie that follows the trail of a legendary jade sword, the Green Destiny, and the key people it influences and ultimately destroys. Chow Yun-Fat plays Li Mu Bai, a retired master that is looking simply to retire to his mountain home and live in peace. He sends one of his dearest friends, Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yoeh), to deliver his sword (the Green Destiny) to his teacher, signifying his retirement. Unfortunately, the sword is stolen by a bandit during the night and Shu Lien, feeling responsible for its disappearance, must figure out who is behind the theft. Staying in the house at the same time is a princess (Zhang Zi Yi), who is being sent into marriage but longs for the life of a warrior. All indications start to point toward her being the thief, and Mu Bai becomes suspicious that Jade Fox, his long time enemy and murderer of his master, is somehow manipulating the situation from the shadows. Li Mu Bai decides to embark on one last mission with the help of Shu Lien: recover the Green Destiny sword, defeat Jade Fox and convince the thief to study under him and learn the true ways of a warrior.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon manages to combine every element of a traditional martial arts movie with the acting, emotion and poise of the best dramas that Hollywood is able to produce. The story, although somewhat complicated, manages to draw the viewer into the multi-layered sub-plots and make them care about the fate of the characters. Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-Fat are riveting as two martial arts masters that, although having studied together and been friends for years, do not reveal their love for each other until it is too late. Their scenes together are some of the most emotional in the movie, and their chemistry plays to that emotion. Zhang Zi Yi is also fabulous as Princess Jen Yu, being able to bridge the full range of emotions almost effortlessly - from her feigned naivety as the princess, to her love of Chen Chang, to her hardened warrior exterior in her numerous battles. In addition to a great story and top rate acting, the fight scenes are probably some of the best choreographed to date. Yuen Woo Ping again shows why he is the master of capturing the fluidity and grace of martial arts with a multitude of outstanding fight sequences that leave you shaking your head in wonder. Although there is a great deal of wire work, it adds to the almost dance-like quality of the scenes. An especially incredible sequence pits Michelle Yeoh against Zhang Zi Yi in Yeoh's dojo. Michelle uses every weapon available to her in her fight, each succumbing to the Green Destiny sword. The scene seems to play as an exhibition for Yeoh and the variety of styles displayed with each weapon, making it completely exhilarating to watch. If you have never watched a martial arts film, you may be spoiled by this one. It puts almost every element of movie making together perfectly, becoming not only a great martial arts movie, but a wonderful movie in any genre.

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: Arshadnm6
Date: 04/10/2005
Summary: Average Movie with Average Expectations and Below Average Result......

Based on the book by Wang Du-Lu, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is the epic fantasy retelling of a story based on two sets of lovers as one struggles with the demands of living with the harsh principles of the martial arts world whereas the other follows a younger and more dynamic feel. Li Mu-Bai (Chow Yun-Fat) and Yu Shu-Lien (Michelle Yeoh) are two veteran martial artists whose plans for retirement are interrupted by the theft of Li Mu-Bai’s prize possession, the Green Destiny sword during its handover to another high dignitary. The other lovers include Jen Yu (Zhang Ziyi), a beautiful and noble-mannered young girl who has a hidden identity and Lo (Chang Chan) the compassionate caravan bandit residing in the deserts who is known as ‘Dark Cloud’. While Li Mu-Bai and Yu Shu-Lien have grown weary of the hindrances of the Jiang Hu underworld to their secret feelings for each other, Jen Yu desires it deeply, as she has been raised by Jade Fox (Cheng Pei-Pei), a vicious kung fu mistress and killer of Li Mu-Bai’s Wudan master. The movie is based on whether the talented Jen Yu will remain under the control of evil Jade Fox’s old feud with the Wudan master or join Li Mu-Bai?

This mainland chinese and mandarin spoken movie has great visual sceneries and is based in different locations including a town, deserts, mountains, hills and forests. This high-budget production gained unnecessary popularity for its average-styled martial arts. Moreover, the blend of emotions in this drama include obvious vibes of doomed love carried throughout the entirety of the movie and touches of romance and martial arts mixed in with some double-crossings and twists where no actor is really who they appear to be – hence the name of the movie, ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’ (especially in the sense of Zhang Ziyi being a hidden thief throughout the movie and disguised as a man when she becomes embroiled in a restaurant brawl). The plot is very basic and has very few subplots. There is no reason behind why this movie was so popular and made high box office takings when compared to other far superior movies (in both the martial arts and dramatic sense) like ‘Moon Warriors’ being around before its time.

Both Ang Lee and Zhang Ziyi have been constantly marketed as the next big things since the day they stepped foot into the movie industry where her roles always appear to include a rebellious young girl and this feature is no exception. Furthermore, Chow Yun Fat has no experience of martial arts and should not have been offered the role since his lack of practice in this area shows (i.e. a slow-motion and overdone wire-worked fight in the forest/mountains with Zhang Ziyi whose action carries no sense of force of impact due to her main background in theatrical displays) and leaves audiences begging for more from both of them. Also, the last fight scene occurs between Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh (her ability in this sense is wasted throughout the move with silly wirework) in a Wudan Temple with a good assortment of weapons, which is overly long and placed incorrectly in the movie (should have been further towards the end) and suffers the fate of other Hollywood disasters such as Kevin Costner’s ‘Waterworld’. Surprisingly, Jet Li turned down the role for acting as Li Mu-Bai in this movie.

Overall, this is a reasonable movie with not much to offer regardless of international acclaim and seems to be an introduction to the limelight for all of the main actors (all of them being attracted to come and act in Hollywood, where Chow Yun Fat is given a chance to improve his portfolio in marital arts movies starring roles).

Overall Rating: 5.3/10

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: bhopcroft
Date: 06/20/2004
Summary: One of my favoutite films ever!

This has to be one of the greatest films ever made, absolutely fantastic from beginning to end. The fight between Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi is one of the most thrilling fight scenes ever put on celluloid, I've lost count of the number of times I've watched that scene, but there is more to this film than just martial arts action, it has an engrossing storyline and all the performances are superb, whilst I am a big fan of Jet Li I am so glad he turned this film down and his role went Chow Yun Fat, I always think the sign of a good performance is if you can't imagine anyone else playing the part and this is definately the case with Chow Yun Fat in this film, I'm not really interested in the oscars but this film absolutely deserved the ones it got(best foreign film, music, cinematography and art direction).
To put it simply the story is about two martial arts masters (Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh) who are trying to get back a stolen sword named the green destiny but they keep getting beaten by an unknown fighter who is using the sword against them.
I don't think for a minute there is anyone reading this who hasn't seen this film yet but if there is do yourself a favour and go see it now.

Reviewed by: balstino
Date: 07/23/2002
Summary: Easily the best. Thank you Ang Lee.

If you haven't already seen this film then please go and watch the subtitled version on DVD (preferably the R3 version). My jaw was on the floor during the final credits, and I just can't believe that human beings could make something as fantastic as this.

A flawless film.

Reviewed by: Dyogenez
Date: 05/06/2002
Summary: Love and action

Not many movies do a good job of being both romance and action films, but CTHD suceeds where they fail. The relationships, both the young and old are both realistic and developed enough to be believeable, something rare in most films. The fight scenes are great, although the wirework is sometimes a little obvious. Still a very complete film. 9/10.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Kyashan
Date: 05/01/2002

A good idea about this movie and very interesting, just I don't liked the part on the desert with Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen. I found it like a piece assistant, out of main plot-story.

However I must say that Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh are really clever in they rules, and the scene of fighting, are good.

Reviewed by: addy
Date: 03/26/2002
Summary: A few flaws

1.Everyone else in this movie played an excellent role, except Lo Xiao Hu -the actor has absolutely no charm at all. Such a pity!
2.The wall-flying action could have been made less exaggerating.
3.The ending is... well, not quite convincing. Although heroic and touching, to suicide out of guilt is definitely not the right way to pay respect to the true meaning of Master Li Mu Bai's sacrifice and the love of others.

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/12/2002
Summary: GREAT

Highly commercialised, and too many ignorant people saw this and put it down by saying "why where they flying?". Well, that's because they have not got the slightest little bit of Chinese knowledge in them. If they saw all the hundreds and hundreds of early kung fu movies, they would understand this much better.

A good movie attempting to go back to how the old 60's and 70's kung fu movies were, and works very well. The majority of it is really two seperate love stories.

Great for the 'real kung fu' fans who enjoyed the old classic Chinese movies.

Rating (of 5): 4

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: DrunkenMonkey
Date: 12/12/2001
Summary: Crouching Critics, Hidden Wires

This film, immediately upon release, was a HIT. In the USA, it won "Best Foreign Film" 2000. The ultimate in Hong Kong cinema. The critics started calling it "one of the greatest films of all time". But viewers asked, "why the h**l is everyone flying?" Easy. Hong Kong martial arts magic. This film has Chow Yun-Fat as a warrior whose sword is stolen by a young princess (Zhang Ziyi, "Rush Hour 2"). Aiding him is the beautiful Michelle Yeoh ("Police Story 3 Supercop", "Project S"). Great film, a wireworks wonder.

Reviewed by: hiddendragon
Date: 10/22/2001
Summary: Tomorrow...I'll kick over Hollywood!

A beautiful, simple story that said everything with Zhang Ziyi's eyes. I didn't know what to expect, but when I saw the first trailer on tv, I knew this was the one movie I had to see. I watched it more than once in the theaters -- didn't want to watch anything else, because nothing else playing at the time even came close or captured my imagination. Thanks to Crouching Tiger, I've basically dumped the Hollywood scene for the most part and have embarked on a journey through the world of HK/Mainland/Taiwan movies. It's hard to "go back." Even the lightweight movies are more entertaining than the overdone special effects w/ no substance. One thing that I see a lot of w/ these movies is that they "show" and don't "tell." I prefer to understand a movie from the context of the characters' actions or expressions rather than have everything explained up front!

I tend to defend Zhang Ziyi's character in this movie. I think Yu Jiao Long was looking for a way out of what she might have seen as an impending life of misery -- and that she had tasted that freedom -- and was caught between needing real direction and an outlet for her skills -- but not wanting to be strangled by society's rules for her. Getting married under those conditions meant giving up everything she dreamed of. She was never fully committed to one course of action and didn't even have a real plan when she went off to what eventually became the restaurant scene. Some say she was a "selfish brat," but it seems she only became one when she was facing the watershed event of her life. Hotheaded and impulsive yes -- but able to control her urges and live out her fantasies through the novels she read.

I'm looking forward to more movies like this or other period pieces, and I'm hoping that a lot of us "Westerners" will go on to appreciate movies that aren't necessarily tailored to "our tastes" but focus on the story.

Reviewed by: Magical Rice
Date: 07/07/2001
Summary: Take Note...

I don't want to repeat what everyone else has said before, so I will go for a different approach.

Overall, the movie takes a couple of times to get the entire story - especially if you aren't Asian. There's alot of folklore involved that some people just won't "get" (especially my fellow Americans) unless they really want to open themselves up to it.

The landscaping and scenery is breathtaking. The movie is extremely deep rooted in to the culture and time in which it was depicting.

One OUTSTANDING AND VERY UNDERRATED character in the movie, however, is the Jade Dragon (played by Cheng Pei Pei).

This character wears MANY hats during the story and she is involved in, what I feel, is the most exciting fight scene in the entire movie (Chapter 12 on your DVDs). Overlooked in my opinion.

If you're looking for a chop socky flic, this really isn't what you should be watching (You'd be better off checking out IRON MONKEY) - if you're looking for a marriage of martial arts, fantasy and drama, then look no further.

Reviewed by: runo_jp
Date: 06/11/2001
Summary: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon : Yeah, go hide!

Rarely have I been so disappointed by a movie.
I expected an epic tale, I saw your average stubborn girl who really need to be spanked, but never is.
I expected Chow Yun Fat, I saw him here and there, a few minutes in the whole movie.
I expected a well done movie, I saw a movie cut in half with a 15 minutes flashback involving 2 people running after each other for a comb.
I expected breathtaking fighting scenes, I saw some fighting scenes straight out of the Matrix, (in other words very good, but 2 years old), a stupid mess in a restaurant, and 2 people with wires in the trees.
What can I save in this mess : Michelle Yeoh (the only actress in the movie), Chow Yun Fat (obviously disappointed to have such a small role!) and 2 fighting scenes (incidentally, both with Michelle Yeoh!)
The end is okay by me, but Chow Yun Fat speaks too much (of course, he didn’t say much until then, and the movie ends soon!)
So, if you see another movie by Ang Lee, or a movie everyone claims to be excellent, don’t bother asking me to see it.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 05/27/2001
Summary: First response when I saw it...

CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON - Well, I finally got to see CTHD tonight, at the very nice Cornerhouse theatre in Manchester, UK. After so many months of anticipation I had a full blown anxiety attack when a friend who asked to come at the last minute turned up half an hour late, but thankfully we made it just in time. I knew not to expect a perfect film thanks to quite a few reports on alt.asian-movies saying that people who had done so were disappointed, and hence with the correct level of expectation I was able to enjoy the result... a very good film. Very good!

The flaws with the film were basically a) Some pretty crude wirework - too much like puppets on strings, more Iron Monkey than Chinese Ghost Story. Some of it was good though, and it impressed the members of the audience with less experience of better work. b) Lack of a final climactic battle.

Pretty much everything else about the film is good or great though. There are some beautifully choreographed fights with hands and weapons - mainly swordfights. Incredibly fast and intricate. Young Zhang Zi Yi is amazingly acrobatic, and Michelle Yeoh is still well up to the task as well. Surprisingly, Chow Yun Fat is very good in the action scenes too, putting in a convincing performance as the super-calm Wudang master.

The acting all round is excellent - amongst the career bests for Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh in fact, and Zhang Zi Yi is superb (and beautiful) - the film is basically hers. The characters are well developed, interesting and believable.

The plot is wilfully "pulp martial arts" - it's not trying to be overly profound or epic in scope, it's just a nicely developed traditional tale of magic swords, rival masters and long held grudges.
Also very fine cinematography, though not necessarily the best I've seen - quite restrained anyway. Some beautiful locations but that's only to be expected really.

The film is quite reserved overall, fight scenes hugely excepted - certainly far less manic than the usual Hong Kong approach to the genre (e.g. it makes sense :-). There's a little bit of comedy (and a little bit of romance) though.

Basically, don't expect it to change your lives because you all have experience of films that are in the same sort of league. There's probably no single aspect in which it is the "best ever", but such high quality across *every* aspect is very rare, and the whole package stands up very well. Bearing that in mind I don't think you'll be disappointed. It is a very good film!

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: TKC
Date: 05/24/2001
Summary: dragon-tastic

The success of crouching tiger Hidden dragon in the west is all the more amazing since it is a period kung fu movie. Also being a foriegn film and relying on subtitles would surely keep moviegoers away. But with a well worked script and fast flowing action this is surely to pave the way for hong kong movies in the west, (or at least director/stars).
The cast put in strong performances(exception of chow yun fat) and each have an intriguing story to tell. Yeun woo ping who was behind the matrix work shows what he really can do in this film and the fighting choreography is simply breathtaking.
If you are a fan of martial arts, interesting characters and love stories then this will not disappoint.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: alienlord
Date: 04/30/2001

When a precious sword is stolen, two warriors (Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeaoh) must track it down and found out who did it, suspecting that it's the sly Jade Fox. Director Ang Lee's superb direction is simply stunning,taking time out of high class fight scenes and punctuating the film with dramatic character developement. The story combines elements of myth, thriller, and action to make simply the best movie of 2000. Zhang ZiYi is the find of the decade and could well be the next Gong Li. ****/4

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: RLM
Date: 04/30/2001
Summary: Worth the watch...

Definitely worth seeing. The group I was in included 2 women (one american , one japanese) and they seemed to enjoy the film more than me. The balance between traditional HK film-making and western tastes was well done. The subtitles seem to vanish after a few minutes and didn't detract from the enjoyment of watching the film - so don't let that keep you from seeing it. The beautiful vistas of China are like eye candy and will memorize you. The fighting scenes are excellent and dutifuly pay homage to prior HK films (hats off to ang lee for that). This film is a case of where all the elements of previous HK film are finally put into one and it shows. CTHD is dramatic, energetic, and passionate all at the same time. The women in our party cried at the end.
ps Jet Li passed up a great opportunity to star in this film to do Romeo Must Die - what a mistake.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: C2H6OFree
Date: 03/30/2001
Summary: A Novice's Perspective

Having become a Chow Yun Fat fan about a year ago and thus discovering Asian cinema from there(a sheltered life, I know), my view of CTHD is as purely virginal as you can get. I know nothing of wuxia, very little of kung-fu (Jet Li OUATIC movies). I was, however, familiar with Ang Lee, a great director, and therefore waited with much anticipation the opening of this movie. The cinematography won me over immediately, as did the haunting melody of Tan Dun as played by YoYo Ma. The depth allowed Michelle Yeoh in her portrayal of Shu Lien shows what kind of parts she should be offered in the future.
Since the story is well-known at this point, I won't repeat it. Overall, I enjoyed this movie very much as it took me to another place and time, involved me in the characters' lives and motivation, and let me "fly" with them as can't be done in the real world. This is why a buy a ticket - to escape. And this movie let me do that. These things are the positives.
The big negative for me - oh, how I hate to say this - was Chow Yun Fat's acting. It isn't his best. There were hints of the intensity his character should have had throughout, considering the emotional conflicts his character struggled with in his storyline, but it just never caught hold.
The little negative, being faily new to wire work (yes, The Matrix, Charlie's Angels), was the amount of it. It seemed a bit overdone. Still, all in all, very much worth seeing.
On a five star scale for year 2000 movies, I would give it a near 4.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: reelcool
Date: 03/21/2001
Summary: What the ...?

This is the most overrated film of the year, and perhaps even the decade. The only thing good about this film, and most of "Ang Lee's" films, is that he never "over-does" anything, leaving the critics no room to criticize him - at all! Personally, I like Ang Lee, because I hear good things about him, and personally, the film really was ... well, pretty good, and ... see what I mean? No wonder the critics love this guy, it's hard not to.

Reviewed by: Chuma
Date: 02/23/2001
Summary: An Epic Tale

Lu Mu Bai after many years a fighter from Wudan Mountain, has decided to retire from the life of being a valiant hero and hands his 'Green Destiny Sword' to his friend, Yu Shu Lien so she can give it to Sir Tse in Peking for safekeeping.

However, once the sword is in Sir Tse's house in Peking, it is stolen by a mysterious figure who seems to be related to Governor Yu, but this cannot be proved without more evidence.

Meanwhile, one of Sir Tse's guards discovers that a police officer from the Western Province of China has been tracking a notorious criminal known as Jade Fox and has tracked her to Governor Yu's compound, but he can't move in until he has more proof. He has the chance when he is challenged to a duel at midnight by Jade Fox, during which Lu Mai Bai turns up to offer assistance, along with the mysterious figure who stole the sword and is fighting on Jade Fox's side.

After the duel, the Governors daughter Jen, who is to be married in a few days, is called upon by her former lover, Lo. They reminisce about years past when Jen chased after Lo (or Dark Cloud as he was known), after the Governor's caravan was attacked in the desert by bandits and her stole her jade comb.

Jen chases and fights Lo for many days in the desert before she finally collapses of exhaustion. She awakens in a desert cave after many days resting and she still wants her comb! Despite these circumstances (or perhaps because of them), they become lovers.

Back in the present, Jen tells Lo to go away as she is getting married, but Lo wants to take her back to the desert. Jade Fox is also a danger as she disappeared soon after the duel and Lu Mai Bui is looking for her.

I'll let you see the rest for yourself, but this has to be one of the best epic fantasy movies I have seen for quite a while. In places it is like a more involving version of 'The Storm Riders' and it has the same sweeping storyline of the 'Once Upon a Time in China' series as well as having excellent performances from Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh and the supporting cast.

The scenes that really stood out in my mind were the desert sequence with Jen and Lo and the flight/fight across the rooftops when Yu Shu Lien is pursuing the thief of the 'Green Destiny Sword'. The remainder of the movie is also impressively shot and the musical score is excellent.

Rating: 10/10

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 02/19/2001
Summary: GOOD!!

I found this started off a little slow but from then on, it's great!!
I am in Sydney Australia and i noticed that some parts weren't translated (like the singing) and some chinese people were laughing but those who didn't understand chinese was left in the dark!!

Also i found the LITERAL flying about a bit too much!! i don't mind long super JUMPS but flying i don't like!!

The action is quite good in this one!! The audience reacted when someone got a whole in there head and Chow Yun Fat standing on a tree branch so effortlessly was spectactular!!

Overall, a good film to watch!!


Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: nomoretitanic
Date: 02/04/2001
Summary: For the Gwailos

I thought the movie was really well done, the cinematography and music and choreography mixed in together very well. The wire sequences were cool looking in my opinion, totally brought alive moves such as "Yun-Tee-Zong" (clouds as ladders) and "bee-hoo-gong" (wall crawlers kungfu) from them old school pulp-and-neoclassic kungfu novels. Stuff most literate Chinese teenage boys read about are now finally put on celluloids, thank you Ang Lee and Master Yuen.

But unfortunately, the Chinese teenage boys now have to put up with awfully Westernized dialogues that cah only be found in Hollywood action movies. The whole pseudo-Taoist philosophies injected in the dialogues have poisoned some scenes. For example early in the movie when Chow YunFat talked about his meditation and that he was "led into this state where time and space have disappeared," and "was surrounded only by a light..." Hey man are you abducted by an UFO? This is stuff you find in that New Age/Self Help bookshelf in Barnes and Nobles--they have no place in a wuxia movie.

Another monologue he delivers late in the movie about being a hungry ghost for 49 days and all was also awfully cliched (for Chinese people at least.)
PLUS the entire theme about "being true to yourself, do what you want to do regardless of the society...etc." is VERY VERY Disney.

Even though I don't know who wrote those lines, I'm blaming James Schamus for it anyways, those damn gwailos trying to poison kickass HK movies.
Yeah and such shallow deeds done solely for the purpose of reaching a wider target audience is what separates Crouching Tiger from a great film to an entertaining movie. I'm willing to bet you anything that Ang Lee's "boyhood fantasy" did NOT include a New Age Yuppie lecture.

Good luck on the Academy Award though, if that suckass Gladiator wins anything that night I'm gonna cry.

Reviewed by: KwanHoFans
Date: 01/13/2001
Summary: Does "Crouching Tiger" live up to its hype?

The phrase "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" refers to an age-old Chinese idiom that says society is full of dangerous people, like hidden tigers and dragons ready to pounce on the unsuspecting victim. The story of the movie revolves around lovers Li Mu-bai (Chow) and Yu Shu-lien (Yeoh), two Chinese warriors who have strong feelings for each other but who have not
had the opportunity to express them. The theft of Li's prized sword leads them to Jen Yu (Zhang), a nobleman's daughter who is about to be betrothed in a pre-arranged marriage but whose young mind is rebellious and dreams of being a warrior. The quest to recover the lost sword precipitates numerous extremely well-choreographed fight scenes (by Woo-ping Yuen) true to the Chinese martial arts or "Wu-xia" genre. Most notable are the two scenes where Yu chases the masked Jen up walls (literally) and over rooftops, and where Li fights with Jen amidst treetops, respectively. The two female leads, Yeoh and Zhang, steal the spotlight most of the time. Yeoh is effective in conveying her suppressed emotions with subtlety and nuance,
while Zhang gives a strong performance as the untamed "hidden dragon" who ultimately seeks escape from her conflicting emotions through death. While some believe this film to be overhyped, North American audiences seem to love it. For some of us familiar with the "Wu-xia" genre, however, this film may fall short of our (fairly high) expectations.

Reviewed by: hellboy
Date: 01/11/2001

What is there to say about this film that already hasn't been said? When Ang Lee said he was thinking of making a kung-fu drama, I took it for a grain of salt. It was like John Woo saying he wanted to direct a musical (it's true, he has said that). Never gonna happen because he's already found his niche and if he did direct it it wouldn't be that great. As far as Ang Lee goes I was totally wrong! Lee has crafted a spectacular movie that may singlehandedly revive Chinese period kung-fu movies. This is the movie the Shaws wish they could have made. Great kung-fu scenes, but most importantly CTHD illustrates how a well-crafted story can accentuate action. I'll eat my shoe if Chow-Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh don't start winning awards for their performances. This film deserves all the hype it's getting here in the US, and the best part is it's going to be in it's original language, subtitled in english! It's a minor miracle!

Reviewer Score: 10