Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
is so many things: an historical epic on a grand scale, an Asian martial-arts flick with both great effects and fantastic fighting (choreographed by The Matrix's guru Yuen Wo Ping), a story of magic, revenge and power played with a posse of star-crossed lovers thrown in for good measure. Set during the Qing dynasty (the late 19th century), the film follows the fortunes of righteous warriors Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien (Asian superstars Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh, respectively) whose love for one another has lain too long unspoken. When Li Mu Bai's legendary sword Green Destiny is stolen by wilful aristocrat's daughter Jen (exquisite newcomer Zhang Ziyi), who has been trained in the way of the gangster by Li Mu Bai's arch-rival Jade Fox, the warriors must fight to recover the mystical blade. The plot takes us all across China, from dens of iniquity and sumptuous palaces to the stark plains of the Western desert. Characters chase each other up walls and across roof and treetops to breathtaking effect, and Tan Dun's haunting, Oscar-winning East-West inflected score. Directed by Taiwanese-born Ang Lee and co-written by his longtime collaborator American James Schamus, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
joins the ranks of the team's slate of high-quality, genre-spanning literary adaptations. Although it superficially seems like a return to Ang's Asian roots, there's a clear throughline connecting this with their earlier, Western films given the thematic focus on propriety and family honour (Sense and Sensibility), repressed emotions (The Ice Storm) and divided loyalties in a time of war (Ride with the Devil). Nonetheless, a film this good needs no prior acquaintance with the director's oeuvre; it stands on its own. The only people who might be dismissive of it are jaded chop-socky fans who will probably feel bored with all the romance. Everyone else will love it. --Leslie Felperin
Named "Best Picture of the Year" by over 100 critics nationwide! Two master warriors (Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh) are faced with their greatest challenge when the treasured Green Destiny sword isstolen. A young aristocrat (Zhang Ziyi) prepares for an arranged marriage, but soon reveals her superior fighting talents and her deeply romantic past. As each warrior battles for justice, they come face to face with their worst enemy - and the inescapable, enduring power of love. Set against 19th-century China's breathtaking landscape, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON is the action-packed, box office smash from acclaimed director Ang Lee (Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm) featuring stunning martial arts choreography by Yuen Wo Ping (The Matrix).