CCC Reviews
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Reviewed By: RyoKazama534

American films are so cliche. Full of elements that are so entirely predictable, going to a film that is intellectually stimulating is a rarity. While the focus on American films tends to be the actual visual process, through cinematography and of course the cast, Chinese films (with the exception of shoestring martial arts films) have always been able to create both a visually stunning piece with the combination of a beautifully told story. While the camera activity in a Chinese film may not be considered daring by American standards, it sets the tone and brings out the story line of the movie.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon had everything an excellent piece of cinema needed. Besides it's obvious pluses of a superb story, great cast and beautiful scenery, as a martial arts film it highlighted the weapon disciplines of the Chinese. Believe me, just because the weapons flop around and look like they're made out of rubber, they are far from it. The grade of metal used in the blades is extremely high, as is exemplified by the Green Destiny

In the film, it brings together two of Hong-Kong's best film stars. Also, it's not Jackie Chan nor Jet Li. Yun-Fat Chow (The Replacement Killers, Anna & the King) stars in this film as the Wudan swordsman Li Mu Bai. Michelle Yeoh (Supercop, Tomorrow Never Dies) plays Yu Shu Lien, the owner of a escort service who hire themselves for convoys as protection. Two fresh faces also appear in this film. Chen Chang plays Lo, a desert vagrant who's only wish is to return to his love. Ziyi Zhang plays Jen Yu, the daughter of Governor Yu who is due to marry into another aristocrat family.

Now the story is a beautiful one indeed. Li Mu Bai has returned from the Wudan mountain in order to be rid of his personal sword, the Green Destiny. The sword is over 400 years old and has seen many battles. He asks Yu Shu Lien to give the sword to a friend, Sir Te (Sihung Lung). Li Mu Bai wishes to escape the world of fighting and seeks a new life.

When Yu Shu Lien presents to the sword to Sir Te, it is stolen the night following. The believed thief is a woman who was refused out of the Wudan school, Jade Fox (Pei-pei Cheng). Jade Fox is the same warrior who killed Li Mu Bai's master. However, it turns out that it was not stolen by Jade Fox, but by her apprentice, a young woman who has perfectly emulated the Wudan fighting style. When Li Mu Bai catches up to her the first time, he learns that although she has great skill, she is undisciplined and needs harnessing, he wishes to teach her, but she wants no part in it.

On the other side of the story, there are two parallel tales of love. As is expected, Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien both care a great deal for one another but because of the death of Yu Shu Lien's fiancee, the two owe it to his memory to respect his engagement to her. There is also the tale of Lo and Jen. However, this part of the story is too important to give any details about.

Simply put, this film is amazing. One special effect that was predominantly used in this film was the use of wire work. It was used for when the actors would leap from rooftop to the ground creating a flying effect. While entirely unrealistic, one gets used to it and it makes for some amazing fight scenes with the use of the wires. Woo-ping Yuen did a superb job at this, his other claims to fame were the choreography of The Matrix.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a must see. Although it's style may take a while to get used to, one becomes easily attached to the characters and the emotions they feel. It has something for everybody, a tale of love, honor, justice and everything in between.

Scores for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

RyoKazama534 -- -- "Simply phenomenal, superb story, acting, music, cinematography as well as choreography."
IR64LAIF -- -- "Damn awesome! Had to see it twice."
*Pending scores from other reviewers*

Li Mu Bai - Yun-Fat Chow
Yu Shu Lien - Michelle Yeoh
Jen Yu - Ziyi Zhang
Lo - Chen Chang
Sir Te - Sihung Lung
Jade Fox - Pei-pei Cheng
Governor Yu - Fazeng Li
Bo - Xian Gao
Madam Yu - Yan Hai
Tsai - Deming Wang
May - Li Li
Auntie Wu - Su Ying Huang

Director - Ang Lee
Author - Du Lu Wang
Screenplay - Hui-Ling Wang
Screenplay - James Schamus
Screenplay - Kuo Jung Tsai
Producer - Li-Kong Hsu
Producer - William Kong
Producer - Ang Lee
Co-Producer - Ping Dong
Co-Producer - Quangang Zheng
Associate Producer - Po Chu Chui
Associate Producer - Phillip Lee
Executive Producer - David Linde
Executive Producer - James Schamus
Original Score - Tan Dun
Cinematography - Peter Pau
Film Editing - Tim Squyres
Design - Timmy Yip
Visual Effects - Jonathan Styrlund
Martial Arts Choreography - Woo-ping Yuen
Solo Cellist - Yo-Yo Ma

*Editor's Note - Typically, Chinese are referred to by their last names more commonly. This is why Yun-Fat Chow is better known as Chow Yun-Fat. This would mean that Li, in Li Mu Bai is the last name. The same applies to Yu Shu Liean. However, this is not the case for Jen Yu. Her character's surname is Yu. All cast and crew are referred to by first name.