Review of 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Wo hu cang long)'

crouching_tiger_hidden_dragon.jpg In 19th century China Master Li Mu Bai (Yun-Fat Chow), an accomplished swordsman and martial artist seeks to leave behind his life of violence giving his sword the “Green Destiny” to his friend and would-be lover Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) to present it as a gift to their friend Sir Te (Sihung Lung). At Sir Te's estate Yu Shu meets Jen (Ziyi Zhang), the young daughter of local governor who is set to be married. Soon after arriving the sword is stolen by a small, quick thief that Yu Shu chases but despite her formidable martial art talents is unable to stop. An undercover policeman (Deming Wang) and his daughter, May (Li Li) have been pursuing Jade Fox (Pei-Pei Cheng) who they believe to have stolen the sword but it soon becomes apparent that all is not what it seems…

A fantastic movie with a great cast including Michell Yoeh, a particular favourite of mine who compels with not only her good looks but her incredible martial arts skills have a fluidity that is akin to dancing. In this film Yun-Fat Chow is in his first action role as Li Mu Bai and is utterly believable, moving with a calm self-assurance you would normally expect from a seasoned action star. They portray a pair of lovers who can never be together with this tension oozing out from every scene they share together: The uncomfortable dialogue coupled with knowing, loving glances and stolen touches. This is acting of the highest calibre and surely has to rank as each of these actors' best on screen performance.

Ok, the martial art effects are a bit corny with the actor's legs and feet running far too frantically through the air in a breezy, unrealistic way but I think that adds to the interesting ambience effected by this movie. The story is quite interesting and I really like the ending – very different from most Hollywood movies (I will give NOTHING away!). The sets and costumes are incredible along with the action sequences, leaving images that will stay with you long after seeing the film.

This film was a huge hit with western audiences when it was released and it is easy to see why - Lots of action and compelling performances by it's all-star cast.

I prefer to watch the subtitles of this instead of any over-dubbing, but that is just me, your mileage may vary!

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2020-05-23

Directed by: Ang Lee

Studio: Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment

Year: 2000

Length: 115 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Ang Lee: