> cMusicWeb.com > Movies > Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Looking for something new? Our latest news and articles are at inReview.net

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
[ crouching tiger, hidden dragon ]


advertise here





Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Click to view! CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (2000)
Starring Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Chow Yun-Fat.
Directed by Ang Lee.
MPAA rating: PG-13

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is, for all intents and purposes, a very entertaining movie. Though the entire show is dubbed in English over the original Chinese dialogue, and has a plot that’s predictable and transparent as an ‘N Sync album, it often dazzles in its simplicity, and offers very engaging (though at times gruesome) martial arts battle scenes.

The plot centres around a sword, called the “Green Destiny,” that has an Excalibur-like mysticism about it. Its possessor at the opening of the movie, celebrated warrior Li Mu Bai, decides to give up his career of military service and sends the sword to a trusted friend. The sword is intercepted while in this friend’s possession, by a masked burglar who turns out to be Jen, the daughter of an aristocrat who has promised her to a man she doesn’t love (don’t worry, I didn’t ruin it for you. You’ll see it from miles away). Jen turns out to be a deft master of the martial arts, who has learned her craft from an evil teacher, the wicked Jade Fox. Fox, as we learn, was the assassin who murdered the master of Li Mu Bai, with malicious intent, not excluding her desire to attain his training manual. With the knowledge that Jade Fox is nearby, Mu Bai knows he must avenge the death of his master (the first of the movie’s gaffes) and eventually succeeds (again, you’ll see this coming).

This is a kung-fu movie with romanticism as its dance partner. Male viewers (forgive the stereotype) will be impressed with the fight scenes (which only once reach the point of repugnance, as a young police officer, peripheral to the main plot, has his skull impaled by a sharp object—blood is scarce), even though many of them involve “flying scenes” in which the combatants prance gracefully in pursuit of one another—it hearkens memories of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The more sensitive set will appreciate the film’s sentimentality. Mu Bai and his closest companion--the woman to whom his best friend was betrothed—and he are often at odds with their affection, but never indulge in one another (at least until Mu Bai is on his death bed…oops…), out of respect for their deceased chum. Also, Jen is infatuated with a rogue thug, and is perpetually torn between him, a live of subservience to her family and her intended husband, and a life of warrior training. Tissues please. (I’m joking, guys. Only joking.)

The movie is not perfect, and deserving of its PG-13 rating. The violence is largely restricted to the martial arts sequences, but is violence all the same. Blood, as mentioned, is scarce, but skin is broken twice. Also, one victim dies from a poisoned dart. The movie is largely bereft of profanity, but in one scene a woman is referred to as a “whore.”

Jen makes an ill-advised decision to solve her quandary of life choices by not making it all. She plummets off a bridge and ends her life.

The movie extols nobility honour, but Eastern religion pervades. Mu Bai is a would-be monk, and reference is made to praying and meditation. Eastern philosophies, which may be an outgrowth of Eastern religion…I don’t know) also abound, as Mu Bai asserts that everything is “just a state of mind.” He is corrected once by his love interest, as she, referring to a material entity, asks, “Is [that] not real?”

There are also moderately lewd love scenes in which two young lovers indulge in pre-marital sex (though no nudity is shown). This is one of the Motion Picture Association of America’s reasons for its PG-13 rating.

That all said, the movie is well deserving of its 10 Academy Awards from a year ago. It is a deftly directed and produced film. Though it fell short of a win for “Best Original Screenplay” (for good reason), the film is engaging in many ways. The English dubbing is only a moderate distraction, as the film draws its viewer in with deft artistry and engaging fight-scene choreography. There is little pretence about this movie, and that is one of its most significant qualities; it doesn’t really try to be anything. It just is.

And it works.
- Ben Forrest
May 29, 2002
Articles written by the staff.
Maintained by WebMaster Dan Ficker.
Site Design by da Man
All Material © 1999-2005 Different Media LLC
Support cMusicWeb.com