Anthony's Film Review
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Ang Lee's cinematic blend of martial arts action and romance is a beautiful work of art...
Actress Michelle Yeoh, who co-starred in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, did an interview I once saw. She explained that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a way to introduce a certain type of Chinese martial arts movie to Western audiences. It's not the kind associated with Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan. Rather, it's the kind that is best described as a martial arts fantasy, a more mystical type of film that has been familiar mainly to natives of China. It's the kind that involves swordfighting along with magical leaps of great distances in the air. I saw a glimpse of such a movie only once in my life when I had stepped into a video rental store specializing in foreign Asian films.
These death-defying leaps were practically the selling point when Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was released worldwide. Never mind the martial arts action, because you can expect it to be worth watching. It's the flying that makes the movie unique. If you're curious about it, I can tell you that you won't be disappointed. The filmmakers did a great job recreating the essence of these foreign martial arts fantasy stories. From what I understood, the special effects team helped out by using wires for the actors playing characters flying around, then removed the wires in post-production. The final result is fantastic.
The story begins with a situation that easily introduces the action. Two warriors, Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat) and Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh), go after a thief who has stolen a sword. After a while, the identity of the thief is revealed. Around this time, we see the other main character: a girl named Jen Yu (Zhang Ziyi). She is someone who has personal issues, especially because she is young.
It turns out that the main story isn't so much about getting the sword back as about romantic relationships. There is a kind of spiritual love between Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien. I especially liked their final scene together because it was well acted, especially by Chow Yun-Fat. As for Zhang Ziyi's character, she has a love connection with a young nomad. It's just as nice to see their relationship blossom as with that of Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien.
I think this is the kind of movie where you may like one aspect or another but like it either way. For me, I liked it all, not just the two types of stories going on but also the cinematography. The gorgeous locales help give the film a beautiful overall look. I think director Ang Lee had a rather grand vision for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by including something for everyone. It's no wonder this movie could capture an audience around the world.
For more information about Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, visit the Internet Movie Database.