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Horse thief Luk Ching-Yang (Sammo Hung) and his wife Liu Lu-Yian (Cheng Pei-Pei). After Luk was betrayed by his brother Kiu Hung (Tsui Goh), Lu-Yian left him. They reunite 20 years later, along with Liu Lu-Yian's adopted daughter Liu Wan-Long (Jade Leung) and the young warrior Pak Suk-Fu (Louis Fan), in order to seek revenge.
By its very title, "Flying Dragon, Leaping Tiger" obviously tries to capitalize on the success of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". Apart from some desert scenes, however, it isn't much like its titular inspiration at all. The story is pretty standard for a kung fu movie: while very young, a brother and sister get separated by violent circumstances, and their respective adopted families develop into bitter enemies. Twenty years later, taking after their parents and having become kung fu masters (what else?), they discover the truth, but not before going through a lot of troublesome misunderstandings, blood-soaked soul searching and, naturally, a bunch of wild fight scenes. A handsome hero - another kung fu master, of course - is introduced as a love interest for the sister (Jade Leung).
At the end they all duke it out, and while you'd expect - at least if you are weaned on American movies - that they clear up the misunderstandings between them and reconcile as they've always really wanted, that's not what happens. The end of the enmity between them has to be resolved in a blood-debt, so the end is a tragic one, regretted by all. Still, the hero gets the girl, so it's not *that* tragic...
The story here is actually more straight-forward than in many other kung fu movies, and there are other good things, too. The handsome hero, called Pak, is extremely cool. I hope that actor has a great career ahead of him. Jade Leung as the spoiled brat sister/daughter is fun, but a bit stereotypical. Samo Hung as her long-haired father is really good; fatso still has a few punches (and spins, and somersaults, etc.) in him! :-)
Interestingly, this movie (2002) has a fight scene on top of a stone obelisk, which reminds so much of the fight that Morpheus and an Agent have on the roof of the truck in Matrix Reloaded (2003), that it seems pretty certain that the Warchowski brothers pinched it from this movie.
A problem with "Flying Dragon, Leaping Tiger" is that most of what happens is kind of cheesy and silly (the ending being perhaps an exception). But it's entertaining enough, and many of the fight scenes are very good-looking. If you're into kung fu movies, your time won't be wasted. And hey, that guy Pak is a regular Luke Skywalker! :-)
6 out of 10.
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