Directed by Ang Lee
Running Time: 1:58
Rated PG-13 for martial arts violence and some sexuality.

Although there was some serious down time in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, it was a strong movie with some serious fight sequences that will leave you breathless.

Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat) is a martial arts legend in ancient China. But he feels his time has passed, so he decides to give his legendary sword, the Green Destiny, to a friend in Peking. He asks Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) to deliver the sword, but soon after she does, the sword is stolen by a mysterious stranger. Bai comes to Peking, not for the sword, but for Lien. They have a love that can not be. In Peking they meet the beautiful daughter of Governer Yu, named Jen (Zhang Ziyi). Jen is engaged to be married to a man she doesn't love, and to live a life she does not want. She wants to live the life of a heroine. A woman who does what she wants, when she wants. But to do so would bring shame to her family. Also in Peking is the mysterious Jade Fox, a criminal who has killed many, including Bai's Master. Bai has vowed revenge on the Jade Fox, as soon as he can figure out who he/she is. (For a much better and longer synopsis of the film, head to Yahoo!.)

At its heart, Crouching Tiger is a story about love, going after your dreams, and not waiting until it's too late. On its face, it's a movie with amazing martial arts sequences, and some beautiful scenery. First off, the fight sequences were breathless. Between the actors, the fight choreographer, the director and the editor, they managed to make fight scenes like you have never seen before. The characters don't simply run and jump, they fly. A simple chase sequence involves running up walls, flying across rooftops, and sometimes standing on the tops of trees. Watching Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi battle it out was amazing. The use of wires in the fight and chase scenes outdoes anything you ever saw in The Matrix.

The acting overall I felt was good, but the performance of Zhang Ziyi stands out in my mind. She was a beautiful, delicate angel with the heart and desire of a dragon. I would love to see her nominated for an Academy Award, even though the movie is subtitled, which takes away from the power of her performance. Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat were mostly secondary characters throughout the movie, and their performances weren't as good as I've seen from them in the past. Again, the subtitling might have dulled their performances. The music, provided by celloist Yo-Yo Ma struck the right tone throughout the film, and added a nice background to the action on the screen.

What I didn't like was the down time in the movie. At one point we're taking on an extended flash back that seemed to drag on forever. And the placement seemed, well, out of place. It just sort of happened, and when you came back to the present, you were left wondering what just happened. It helped let the audience understand Jen a little better, but at the same time the point could have been made in a lot less time. Also when there were longer drawn out conversations, the movie seemed slower than it may have been because of the need to read what they were saying, instead of just being able to listen.

So overall I enjoyed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. While I don't feel it's the best picture of the year, it was something different than what you're used to seeing. The martial arts sequences were wonderful, the acting of Zhang Ziyi was award-worthy, and the scenery was beautiful. There are some slow parts of the film, which took away from the power of the film, but in the end it is definitely a movie worth seeing.

Got something to say? Say it on the Message Boards. No password needed!

Click on the link for more information on Screenwriting, Home Video/DVD or Film Making.

Visit the all new Holiday Store for all your holiday gift giving needs!

Sense and Sensibility

$22.49 DVD

The Killer

$25.49 DVD

The Matrix

$18.99 DVD


$13.99 CD

reviewed 01/21/00

© 2001 Wolfpack Productions

Wolfpack Productions