Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon a.k.a. “El tigre y el dragón,” “O Tigre E o Dragão,” “Tigre et dragon,” “Green Destiny,” “Hiipivä tiikeri, piilotettu lohikäärme,” “Im Reich der Tiger und Drachen,” “Kaplan ve ejderha,” “La tigre e il dragone,” “Na'mer, Dra'kon,” “Ngo foo chong lung,” “Prezeci tiger, skriti zmaj,” “Przyczajony tygrys, ukryty smok,” “Snikende tiger, skjult drage,” “Tiger & Dragon,” “Tiger på spring, drage i skjul,” “Tigre i drac,” “Tigre y dragón,” “Tigris és sárkány,” “Tiiger ja draakon,” “Tygr a drak,” “Wa ho jang ryong,” “Wo hu cang long,” “йПЮДСЫХИЯЪ РХЦП, ГЮРЮХБЬХИЯЪ ДПЮЙНМ”
Reviewed by: Nightingale Ngo
Foreign Romance Martial Arts Drama
Year of Release:
December 8, 2000 (limited)
December 22, 2000 (wide)
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Breathtaking is the only word to describe “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
Famed warrior Li Mu Bai (Yun-Fat Chow) plans to retire and give his sword, Green Destiny as a gift. However, his sword gets stolen, he has one last fight as he plans to avenge his master’s death. Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) is a longtime friend and, while they have feelings for each other, they are unable to admit them. Meanwhile, the governor’s daughter, Jen (Ziyi Zhang) is about to be wed in an arranged marriage. However, she has plans of her own and would rather be with Lo (Chen Chang), who lives in the desert and makes a living by stealing from the wealthy.
Director Ang Lee reaches both the Asian audience, with films like “Eat Drink Man Woman”, and the American audience with “Sense and Sensibility”. “Crouching Tiger” shows the diversity of films that he is capable of making. Lee has said he grew up watching many martial arts films, and dreamed of one day making one. Well, he has, and it is amazing in every aspect. He brings beauty and artistry to the screen. The landscapes are vast and majestic, from the bamboo trees to the grandeur of the desert.
Of the three principal actors, only Yeoh had any prior experience in extensive fighting sequences. However, all the actors underwent extensive rehearsals for the film and the result is artistic, flawless fighting sequences. The characters not only fight each other, but also fly over rooftops and fight on treetops. There is much more than fighting in this film, and the actors each convey depth to their characters by bringing intensity and vulnerability. it’s simply amazing to see a young actress like Zhang holding her own in the presence of veteran actors Chow and Yeoh.
The film has no bad language, however, parents do need to be cautious of the violence, since this film focuses on fighting. There are a few instances of blood—a massive throwing blade impaled into a policeman’s skull, plus a few other quick minor bloody scenes. Two love scenes are filmed with no nudity, but there is some movement and even in the absence of nudity the sequence is somewhat erotic. Another scene shows a drugged Jen in a wet white shirt, revealing her breasts. Disrespect is a key theme as Jen defies her parents' wishes of an arranged marriage. The spiritual side to the film is obviously Eastern, showing characters talking about meditating and in one scene showing Shu Lien observing Buddhist rituals.
Yes, the film is in Mandarin Chinese, and is therefore subtitled, but the subtitles in no way take away from the film. Mix the fighting sequences, splendid background to a great soundtrack featuring cellist Yo Yo Ma, and you have a masterpiece. One of the best films of 2000? Definitely.