Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Directed by Ang Lee
Starring Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Lung Sihung, Cheng Pei-pei, and Li Fazeng.
I must confess, I’ve never seen a foreign film in the theaters. But, with all my friends raving over Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon I knew that perhaps I should check it out. After all, they listend to me when I similarly ranted over Iron Giant, right? That, and, with the Internet buzzing and the snagging of a few Oscar nominations, I knew I must have been missing something big.
The plot is somewhat complicated and I’m not sure I can distill it for you. But, I’ll try anyway. As with Gladiator, it all begins with a soldier wanting to give up his life of violence. We meet up with Li Mu Bai (Yun-Fat), a warrior who wants to give up his life. As he speaks with Shu Lien (Yeoh), his big unrequited love, he asks her to take his sword to an old friend of theirs, as he will not need it anymore. It turns out Bai’s sword is the Green Destiny, a much-fabled sword passed down from warrior to warrior. Lien turns the sword over, and meets up with Jiao Long Yu (Ziyi). She is about to be forced into an arranged marriage, and that sits none too pleasantly with her. But then, that night, the Green Destiny is stolen, setting the stage for a tale of vengeance, royal drama, action, betrayal, and tragic love. To go into any more would be to give away too much.
This movie is just truly dazzling. Where do I begin? Well, being the typical geek that I am, the fight scenes truly stand out. These are some of the most spectacular battles ever seen on the silver screen, and they have this dream-like quality to them. And I must admit, that is one killer barfight. The characters are people that you actually care about, with flaws and foibles in tact. It’s not just the clear-cut good guy/bad guy set-up you typically find in movies like this. The plot, as previously stated, is a bit complicated, and it forces you to pay attention. But it’s worth it. And, being the hopeless romantic that I am, I’m just a sucker for a doomed romance. Do not miss this film.