Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

PG-13   |    |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) Poster

A young Chinese warrior steals a sword from a famed swordsman and then escapes into a world of romantic adventure with a mysterious man in the frontier of the nation.


7.8/10
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  • Ziyi Zhang in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
  • Michelle Yeoh and Ziyi Zhang in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
  • Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
  • Ziyi Zhang in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
  • Ang Lee in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
  • Ziyi Zhang in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


30 December 2000 | The Mogul
10
| A wondrous mythology, a cinematic masterpiece.
I gave a wry chuckle when the opening credits pronounced Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon a Sony Cinema Classic in the year of its release. However, I too would not have hesitated to brand this film such. It is a cinematic masterpiece that left me in silent reverie at its conclusion.

The film's story unfolds amidst the ancient temples, bamboo forests and painted deserts of nineteenth century China: a sensual, mystical landscape that, at our first high-angle glimpse of Peking takes on a dizzying scale. This world is inhabited by the Wudan, spectral warriors from legend who effortlessly leap between rooftop and bamboo tree, a device which elevates them to a plane divorced from our parochial middle-class values without the loss of their intense humanity. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is an ode to the human spirit that transcends genre; it is at once fantasy, romance, historical epic and thriller, enriched by a subtle humour.

At the film's heart are four compelling performances. Ziyi Zhang, is enchanting as the wilful Jen Yu, daughter of a government official, who aspires to the code of the Wudan. Her destiny is entwined with those of Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat) and Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh), disciples of this enigmatic clan, and of the desert bandit Lo (Chen Chang) by the theft of an arcane sword, Mu Bai's quest for revenge and the fulfilment of a powerful yet unrequited love

Chow Yun Fat possesses an hypnotic screen presence in his portrayal of this regal master, who displays an unparalleled heroism untainted by western cliché as the film travels inexorably toward his shuddering death-blow. This resonates long after the credit sequence has run and you've marvelled at how few stunt artists were engaged to actualize the film's thrillingly beautiful fight sequences. These are not the idle distractions aimed at a boyish mind we find in other martial arts films but rather a transcendent form of dance. Their exquisitely honed choreography rivals that of Graham Murphy and Twyla Tharp.

Star of these sequences is the four hundred year old Green Destiny sword that exerts a powerful metaphoric presence on the film. It is a sensuous artefact that sings when struck, punctuating Yo-Yo Ma's haunting cello solos, a feature of the immersive soundtrack.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a film of titanic proportions, with all the pageantry of Kundun, minus the ponderous pace, and without a trace of the cloying sentimentalism which infected Titanic's impoverished narrative. Li Mu Bai's final words are a more fervent declaration of truth than any to have graced the screen before.

After all that, I can offer no further commendation except to say that this is the latest greatest film of my now seemingly hollow existence.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to old Taiwanese newspapers, there was a Taiwanese-speaking movie in 1959 called "Luo Xiao Hu and Yu Jiao Long," an earlier adaptation of Du Lu Wang's novel. The old newspapers noted that this version was also a martial arts film. The leading actress, Hsiao Yan-Chiou, was originally a traditional Taiwanese opera actress. After the movie was released, Hsiao married, leaving "Luo Xiao Hu and Yu Jiao Long" as her last movie. The film is thought to be no longer in existence now, and it seems to hold no connection with Ang Lee's "Wo Hu Cang Long," except for the adaptation source.


Quotes

Man: Master Li is here! Master Li is here!


Goofs

(at around 40 mins) When Jen and her mother are receiving wedding gifts from Sir Te with Shu Lien, the two older women are chatting with Jen standing plainly in the back of the room, facing the two women. In the next shot, Jen is seen turning to face the room from the balcony.


Crazy Credits

The opening title appears in Chinese and English.


Alternate Versions

The Taiwanese VCD for this movie was dubbed. Mandarin Chinese was not the first language for Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh, and it showed in the original movie. This version dubbed them over with native speakers. It can also be distinguished by the addition of background noise such as grunts during the fights.


Soundtracks

A Love Before Time
Music Composed by
Jorge Calandrelli, Dun Tan
Lyrics by James Schamus, Elaine Chow (Translation)
Performed by CoCo Lee featuring Cello Solo by Yo-Yo Ma
Coco Lee appears courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment (Holland) B.V.

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Action | Adventure | Fantasy | Romance

Details

Release Date:

12 January 2001

Language

Mandarin


Country of Origin

Taiwan, Hong Kong, USA, China

Filming Locations

Anhui Province, China

Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$663,205 10 December 2000

Gross USA:

$128,078,872

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$213,525,736

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