If you've heard Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon is an action movie, you've
heard correctly. Sort of. If you've heard Crouching Tiger, Hidden
Dragon is a love story, you've heard correctly. Sort of. If you've heard Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a great movie, you've heard correctly. Well, sort
of. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a love story and an action movie.
It doesn't fit either genre in the traditional sense, so it's very hard
to pigeonhole as being one or the other.
Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, and
Zhang Zi Yi
Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat), a well-known Chinese warrior, has given up
his sword, the Green Destiny, and entrusts it to his longtime friend and
fellow fighter, Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh). Shu Lien is to deliver the sword
to Sir Te, a friend of Li Mu Bai's murdered master. Shortly after she
does, the sword is stolen from its resting place. The suspects include
Li Mu Bai's enemy, Jade Fox, who killed Li Mu Bai's master, and may now
be hiding in the governor's entourage. Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien attempt
to recover the sword, but the delicacy of the governor's involvement make
things very difficult. While investigating, Shu Lien strikes up a friendship
with the governor's daughter, Jen (Zhang Zi Yi.) Jen is about to be married
-- an arranged marriage -- which makes her long for the freedom the life
of a fighter like Shu Lien can give. Shu Lien draws a comparison between
their lives which may cause Jen to reveal a secret that will affect everyone
Tiger, Hidden Dragon does contain some amazing action and fight
sequences. Like all good martial arts movies, they require a little suspension
of disbelief. The film may ask a little more from the viewer than the
usual martial arts movie. However, one must keep in mind that this movie
combines fantasy elements and realism in ways no different than any other
movie that contains them. The film's low-key atmosphere just makes the
fantasy elements seem a bit more obvious and over the top than they would
appear in something out of Hollywood, say, like The Matrix.
Director Ang Lee (The
Ice Storm) and cinematographer Peter Pau have combined
to make a movie that is visually stunning in more ways than just the action
sequences. The sets and surroundings of the film are breathtaking, to
say the least. However, there are moments of subtle beauty in the close-ups
of Michelle Yeoh's face and Chow Yun-Fat's eyes as well.
And, as I said, there is a love story here. It's well-told and just as
interesting as the action elements of the film. In fact, it could be separated
from the action elements and make an entertaining film. The action and
fighting are just the icing on the cake.
Tiger, Hidden Dragon has been receiving a lot of attention
from both the movie-going public and the entertainment press. It's been
doing great business at the box office and that was thought impossible
for a sub-titled film. Although the movie doesn't really live up to the
hype that's preceded it, it is still a very solid and well made movie
with an engaging story and lots of action. Maybe its been doing so well
because it delivers what Hollywood action movies can't deliver: a cohesive
story. Or maybe it's because it delivers what Hollywood love stories aren't
allowed to deliver: action sequences -- with women taking a very active
role in them. In any event, it's a film worth tracking down and seeing.
Just don't expect a conventional (insert genre here) film.
Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh had to learn Mandarin Chinese prior to the
start of filming. Their Cantonese accents can be heard throughout.
Internet Movie Database)