14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Crouching Subtitles, Hidden Beauty,
This review is from: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon [DVD]  (DVD)
It is great to see a subtitled film get so much attention. Hopefully this will serve as a precursor for a broader interest in foreign film as so few theaters are able to take them up for any amount of time. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a great success because it is able to combine so many elements of what make a good film so seamlessly well. It is a perfect mixture of comedy, adventure and romance. The acting, cinematography and directing are stunningly good. The lush landscape is a perfect backdrop for the mythic feel of the story. The fights are excellently choreographed and breathtaking to watch.
The story is simple. There is a legendary sword called the Green Destiny that is stolen. It is subsequently regained and stolen again. A legendary fighter wants to become the mentor of a temperamental but talented upper-class girl who is secretly the student of his archenemy. The story focuses on her misadventures and emotional growth. There are side stories including the revenge of a slain mother and the life-long romance between the legendary fighter and his skilled female friend. Such coming of age stories of female independence have begun to be tedious, but the mixture of comedy in the story line and intense excitement of the action scenes proves this story to be tremendously engaging. The flashback scene to the desert has been criticised for being misplaced in the narrative, but I found it to be simultaneously a great piece of comedy and a heartfelt romantic union. Certainly the scene of Zhang Ziyi slicing the pompous names out of the men in the public drinking house is one of the funniest in film. You may be wondering at first when the action is going to start with all the initial back-story, but once it starts there is no stopping it. The scene of Zhang and Chow fighting amidst the bamboo branches is beautifully done. Whether you are a fan of martial arts or not you will find yourself swept away by the adventure and romance of this tale. It is nothing but a masterpiece.