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|Index||64 reviews in total|
I definitely expected this to be weaker, more superficial and more
action-obsessed than the original just judging by its trailer, but it
was actually worse in many more ways than I had thought of.
First ugly thing that hits you is the ruined color gamut, with all colors squeezed into two narrow bands around red and green (like the "teal and orange" madness that has gripped Hollywood this past decade, but shifted to the side toward red and green). Why must you do this to our eyes, movie studios, why? What have we done to deserve this? What's next, having to buy premium versions of the movie just to get the rest of the color spectrum?
Next comes the complete lack of originality of whatever crumbs of a story there are in there, the entirely boring and soulless dialogue, the cardboard-thin characters that couldn't make you care about them if their lives depended on it, and ending with the mediocre fight scenes. The whole thing was centered around the fighting and they couldn't even get that part at the level of grace and artistry and impact of the fights in the original film.
And to top it all off, they reversed the languages and wrote the original dialogue in English and added Chinese as a dub. This isn't catastrophic - at least the dub is there so you can make the experience reasonably similar to the original -, but it's still somewhat annoying and a bad production choice.
This was a very poor use of Yeoh's potential. All in all, my favourite character ended up being the girl fighter from the villain's crew, who just did her job and did it well, without wasting our time with too much meaningless dialogue or with any other hopeless attempts at gaining a depth the screenwriters never gave her in the first place.
Sword of Destiny (2016) tries to pick up several years after the events
of Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).
Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) holds again in her hands Li Mu Bai's legendary sword, known as the Green Destiny, and here is where the forced elements starting to emerge... A ferocious villain and his clan is after the sword. A conflicted young couple is needed to enrich the plot and to give a feel of Zhang Ziyi who is missing from the cast. A character who I wont spoil you who he is, played by Donnie Yen, and who has an unbelievable connection with the first movie. And of course the usual revenge sub-plots etc etc.
Unfortunately, the feel of the movie has nothing to do with Ang Lee's multi-awarded film. It feels like a generic wuxia movie. Too much cable-flying, most of it unnecessary if you ask me, uninspiring fights, over-processed and unnatural imagery... and the music, despite the reprize of Tan Dun's original theme from 2000, is not a perfect fit.
Overall: Yuen Woo-Ping, the grandmaster of kung-fu choreography makes a sub-par movie with CTHD2. You might want to check it out, out of curiosity if you liked the original more than 15 years ago. But honestly, despite the return of Michelle Yeoh don't expect much...
I don't know how they could take a masterpiece like Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon and destroyed it. This sequel has nothing of the first
movie except for the title.
Maybe i am too harsh, but Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was an epic movie, with good story line, legendary character in Li My Bai, great chemistry between characters and epic ending. So based on that my expectations for this movie were high. Plus if you put Donnie Yen, and Jason Scott Lee on top of that you would expect nothing less than the previous movie. But, no. In CTHD 2, the story is terrible, the characters are weak, empty and shallow,there is no connection between them, the directing is bad, and the worst part is, it's in English. The only good thing are the fighting scenes and they are average at best.
So to summarize this movie is an average Chinese kung fu movie with some decent action, sword fighting scenes. As a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel its a big disappointment and not worth watching.
It was a decently enjoyable movie, i probably would have enjoyed it
more if it didn't have the crouching tiger, hidden dragon tag to it (as
it raised expectations)
Problems i had with it were that it was rather short, there was almost no character development, the story line was quite clichéd and the fight scenes didn't seem as fluid as the original, the musical score wasn't nearly as impressive as the original either.
I am struggling to find anything about the film that is better than average.
Overall not a bad film, just not something i will watch again, A generous 6/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I caught the movie in Hong Kong on 21st of February, the 96 minutes
version dubbed in Cantonese. Truth to be told, my expectations were
very low, because the original was just a classic. The first bad
trailer with weird auto-tuned music and English dialogue did not help.
But the results surprised me. If you have the chance, watch it in
Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Company finally got the rights to CTHD, and proceeded to work on a script based on Wang Du Lu's 5th book of the series. Iron Knight, Silver Vase, which are actually the names of 2 of the main characters in the movie (just like Crouching "Tiger" and Hidden "Dragon" 2000 the title itself).
The director here is Yuen Woo Ping, best known for his choreography work in Ip Man 3, Matrix and of course the first CTHD. He is also a good director on his own, with critical successful films such as Wing Chun and Iron Monkey. According to interviews, Ang Lee did not want to come back for the sequel because he never does a "repeat" work, but he met up with Yuen Woo Ping and gave him his blessings because he knew that if there was anyone who could helm the sequel, it would be the person he worked the closest with in the first movie, Yuen Woo Ping himself.
The story in this movie is more simple and straightforward (sometimes predictable), and perhaps not as good as the first movie hence this is where a point is deducted.
However cinematography and costume wise, it is on par, if not better than the original. Landscapes of New Zealand and China, and the beauty of nature are better capture than the original, and the elaborated costumes are noteworthy.
Action wise, it is a huge step up, perhaps because of the casting of Martial Arts Kingpin Donnie Yen himself, who has a strong martial arts background compared to Chow Yun Fatt who needed plenty of stunt doubles and still did not look fluid in his sword-wield or movements(it was reported that Jet Li rejected the first film hence it went to Fatt). The action sequences makes it a combination of not just a Wu-Xia film but a Kung Fu film because there is now less "flying-around" or wire-work but more realistic martial arts display by Donnie Yen. Donnie Yen's performance and presence in the film is spectacular, and it makes people want to see more of him after his appearance.
Michelle Yeoh remained in character and is impressive in both the acting and the action department, huge thumbs up for her but unfortunately her performance seems to be slightly overshadowed (surprisingly) by new-comer Natasha Liu Bordizzo who plays Snow Vase.
Harry Shum Junior actually looks good in this movie in fight scenes due to his tremendous Dance Background and pedigree.
As for the English Language spoken on the Netflix version(not here in Hong Kong), I think it is a good move because The Weinstein Company and Netflix they want to show the movie to the whole world, hoping to reach audiences who will never ever watch a swordsmen or Wu Xia movie in their lives. There are many people in the world who will never watch a movie because they hate reading subtitles.
And also because people in China hated the first movie and it flopped and one of the reason is because of Chow Yun Fatt's Cantonese accent and Michelle Yeoh had Malaysian accent in their mandarin dialogue, so please try and understand instead of claiming it should be in Mandarin, the original got mocked because of the bad mandarin accents.
Overall a very enjoyable movie, which really needs heart to appreciate, it may be slow at times but it truly allows audiences to be observant and to look at the minor details in such a major motion picture.
It would be even better if one already read the original book by Wang Du Lu or the new novel by Justin Hill, as it covers more motivations and intentions clearly.
Therefore, do not just view this as a sequel to one of the most successful Wu-Xia films ever made, appreciate this movie and take it as a film of its own, and you will enjoy it thoroughly.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon remains one of the greatest martial arts
films ever made. The breath-taking cinematography and graceful fighting
sequences led it to become the highest grossing film in a foreign
language in North America, helped open up the west to Asian cinema and
is quite simply a masterpiece. But sadly The Sword of Destiny seems to
capture very little of the beauty that made Crouching Tiger so
incredible and instead feels more like an attempt to cash in on the
legacy of Ang Lee's original film.
Taking place 18 years after the original film, Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) returns to defend the sword Green Destiny once again, this time from the evil Lord Hades (Jason Scott Lee). She is assisted by Silent Wolf (Donnie Yen), her ex fiancé who she believed was dead. Meanwhile a young woman known as Snow Vase (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) who is training under Shu Lien begins to fall for Wei Fang (Harry Shun Jr), a young thief who attempted to steal the sword for Hades. The film rehashes several story beats from the original film but recreates them with far weaker characterisation and lacks the same depth of its predecessor.
The only returning cast member from the first film is Michelle Yeoh, who does deliver a good performance by bringing the same wisdom and nobility that she bought to the first film. However every other character suffers from a screenplay that is incapable of doing anything other than filling up time until the next action sequence. The main romance in the film between the two young lovers is never able to create any real chemistry. Even Donnie Yen, one of the greatest Chinese action stars, is unable to do anything with his little screen time and the incredibly bland script other than fight and look stoic.
The cinematography mixed with the vast landscapes looks nice at times, but at others the film suffered heavily from an overuse of CGI that feels like a very misguided departure from the natural beauty of the original film. Also instead of being filmed in Mandarin like the original film, the actors instead all speak English. Obviously this is done to appeal to a wider demographic, but it ends up distancing itself even further from the tone of the original film.
Out of everyone who could direct a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Woo- Ping Yuen could at first seem like a good choice. He's directed some of the greatest action films from China (including Drunken Master and Iron Monkey) and was even the action choreographer for the original Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. And he is able to pull of some great fight sequences throughout the film, including one creative sequence battling along a frozen lake. But as impressive as the fight choreography is, it never recaptures the tone of the original Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Whereas the fights in Crouching Tiger played out like a delicate dance through which two warriors communicated, Sword of Destiny is an impressive display of fighting skill and stunt work, but nothing much else.
Also whilst Woo-Ping Yuen is quite possibly one of the greatest action directors of all time, his style just wasn't suited here. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon wasn't really an action movie. It was a romantic drama cleverly disguised as a martial arts flick. But Sword of Destiny is instead just an action movie with a weak romantic sub-plot tacked on.
Netflix strikes again! This time they chose to ruin the memory of a the 16 year old classic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with a sequel that shines in being utterly boring. The film is only 100 mins long but it seems to last so much longer. The story is poorly constructed and there so little happening that halfway through the movie I hardly knew what is was about. Something about the titular sword, but it seems so unfocused and aimless. You never have the sense that the story is going anywhere or that the characters have some clear purpose. Also the characters are dull and the dialogue utterly uninspired. They did an effort to make it look good but strangely enough this film looks like a TV movie (well it actually is) that has this strong 'shot in a studio' look (much like War Horse for example). I didn't check the director before watching it but was very surprised Woo-Ping (action choreographer Matrix films) was at the wheel. So the action should at least be good right? Wrong, the fight scenes are slow and dull, not fast and furious. So I would recommend to skip this film entirely, certainly if you liked the original and want to keep your memory of it intact.
I went into "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny" (SoD)
with a mix of expectations. I remember loving "Crouching Tiger, Hidden
Dragon" (CTHD) went I saw it. How would this sequel match up? Actually,
To begin, let's remove some false assumptions. Many are upset about the film being in English, unlike the original which was in Mandarin. But there are reasons for this that extend far beyond "Americanizing." In CTHD, some of the stars were not native Mandarin speakers and their accents were heavy. This led to ridicule in China. I believe that the English language filming is an attempt to correct that. Better to have a good foreign language dub than actors who struggle on film, in my opinion.
Furthermore, some have said that the fighting wasn't as good. One review I read said that the heroes had become super-heroes. I disagree. There is actually much less wuxia flying and more straight-forward combat. Is it stylized? Certainly. That's part of the genre. But it seems more grounded to me, than super-heroic. CTHD had some excellent fight scenes! But the star wasn't a trained martial artist and his moves looked clunky at times. Not so here. Donnie Yen is in top form and delivers a solid performance. It is especially satisfying to see him alongside Michelle Yeoh (the only carry over actor from CTHD). They fight and act well together.
But, SoD is more than fighting. The narrative is key here. In fact, the story for SoD is, in some ways, superior than CTHD. The story and character arcs build on what went before, so we find out more about the previous characters. Furthermore, some of the new characters have deeper connections and more layered stories.
The biggest difference between SoD and CTHD is the cinematography. At the risk of the oversimplification, CTHD seemed more artsy. That doesn't means SoD looks bad. It's just a different, more modern style. There are some breathtaking landscape shots that give the story scope! The film could also have been a little longer. There are some minor characters that I wish we would have been able to see more of before the end.
The direction, acting, fighting, and soundtrack all work well together, giving us a great film. For me, "Sword of Destiny" is an excellent follow up to the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Your humble reviewer believes that the destiny of certain very special
sequels is not merely to entertain, not merely to make money, but to
strike a chord within the viewer that makes you realize how much you
enjoyed the original and want to see it again.
So it was that at the halfway point of this movie I decided to go to the Amazon site and order the original CTHD. Only with the perspective of this lop-sided followup can the beauty, the genius, of the original be appreciated.
That said, a lot of top talent try very hard to salvage this title but aside from some amazing fight scenes -- scenes which by themselves are almost worth the price of the ticket -- it just keeps letting you down.
Yen's performance here made me appreciate his restraint in the 3 Ip Man movies even more. And watching the increasingly heavy Jason Scott Lee reminded me that when he first debuted on the scene, he played a very svelte Bruce Lee. And any film with Michelle Yeoh is always worth a look.
Have a glance here, but cherish the original.
Obviously their was a decent production budget and energy spend on this
martial arts movie set in ancient China. Much effort went into
(re)creating sets, costumes and choreography. That's the good part...
However, it's out of place to go through all the effort to evoke a historical time period, only to let all Chinese characters speak English (in a time period where only very few Chinese intellectuals would be able to speak any other other language than Chinese). Either the producers didn't have faith in a movie audience to read subtitles or to accept a movie with any other spoken language than English. The original movie did manage to do that however: to appeal as well to a mainstream audience AND lovers of exotic foreign language martial arts movies.
Sword of Destiny doesn't do anything which hasn't been done much better before. Martial Arts in itself as a genre, having being so popular mainly in the 70s and 80s has explored about any camera angle, fast montage and special effect. Tarantino already directed the ultimate homage in Kill Bill.
Sword of Destiny, although with some credits to the production in itself never amazes, unless you've never seen a martial arts movie before. Like in the previous Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon there is a lot of cable work and floating going on. As if fast paced and shot martial arts scenes weren't enough, in this series the fighting characters are elevated to near super heroes, resulting in choreography and fighting scenes which aren't credible anymore.
This is exactly where for instance Bruce Lee-flicks were far superior: as a viewer you saw incredible sequences but yet they remained credible. In Sword of Destiny the character has seized to be human and becomes a fantasy.
Sword of Destiny finally ends up being neither: too slick to be accepted by a die hard audience of authentic martial arts movies, too Americanized to appeal to lovers of historical art house costume movies.
Going through all the effort to evoke an ancient Chinese period and let all Chinese characters speak English is simply foolish.
Sword of Destiny is exactly where American mainstream cinema has gone wrong: in a cash-in attempt to 'Americanize' classics in other countries, they end up with would-be blockbusters without soul or authenticity what so ever. You watch it, you forget it: it's not good, not super bad either, it ends up being a movie you hardly remember the next day, unlike the original.
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