During China's Tang dynasty the emperor has taken the princess of a neighboring province as wife. She has borne him two sons and raised his eldest. Now his control over his dominion is complete, including the royal family itself.
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is a timeless story that takes place in QING China when miracles were credible and spirits and gods were present in man's world. It is not unbelievable that zen warriors float through the air, skim the water and battle in trees and on rooftops. Pain, revenge and duty are the stuff that bind us in this world and are the main plot line of the movie, but in the afterlife love and faith linger on. Written by
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is, quite simply, a stunning film and a real breath of fresh air in a genre that was previously somewhat stagnant. Kung-fu films were on a very steady decline, with only Jet Li making a valid effort to change things around. It comes then as a great relief that Ang Lee decided to do what he did and put an entirely new slant on the genre.
Tacky dubbed dialogue is out of the window and we're back to the films original Chinese language subtitled into English. This adds a lot more to one of the films main themes, culture. While we as the Kung-fu loving public have grown used to storylines generally involving the hero's lost mother/brother/pet goldfish, Crouching Tiger... eschews all of these stereotypes and sets about creating a really authentic atmosphere.
I won't bother rehashing the story because if you haven't seen the film yet I want you to go in with as little knowledge as possible. If you don't know what to expect, I can't recommend Crouching Tiger... more highly. Lee's directorial style is simply a joy to behold, and every minute detail is treated with a respect most directors simply don't have. Now, the part we've all been waiting for. I know what you're thinking, "It's all very well having a great story but what good is it if they're all going to mince about like fairies?"
Well, I'm pleased to tell you that these guys kick more ass than you've EVER seen before. The fight sequences are stunningly choreographed and the 'flying' looks spectacular. While a big thing has been made of Chow Yun Fat and Zhang Ziyi's treetop battle, the one for me is between Michelle Yeoh's Shu Lien and Ziyi's Jen. Both instances, both in the courtyard and the dojo are, quite frankly, the most astounding displays of martial arts I have EVER been lucky enough to witness. While Bruce Lee can certainly do the real thing, and he is without doubt the original and best, Wo Ping's sequencing of the fight scenes is truly revolutionary.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of the best films I have ever seen and I would recommend anyone, whether or not they are interested in Kung-fu movies.
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