This is my other review I did for the SYTYCR tournement at The LAMB.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that the first time I saw this film I had tried to talk my way out of it. I was young, and martial arts movies weren't really my thing unless they involved Jackie Chan. Go ahead and laugh, but for me at age thirteen, Jackie Chan was the man, damnit! If there was ever a film that was going to change my views on martial arts movies, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is it.
The story follows Li Mu Bai, (Chow Yun-Fat) a famous warrior that's ready to lay down his powerful sword, The Green Destiny for good. He gives it to an old friend, but the sword is immediately stolen. Lin Mu Bai's fellow warrior, Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) aids him in his search. They have long been in love with one another, but have never acted upon it. Tying everything together is Jen, (Ziyi Zhang) the daughter of a wealthy family. Jen is unhappy with the marriage that has been arraigned by her family, and it soon comes to light that she has been secretly trained to be a fierce fighter. Originally, I accidentally called Li Mu Bai "Lin Mu Bai" I must have stared at this damn review for an hour before I submitted it, checking for type-os and I mess up one letter. Damnit.
"Subtly ridiculous" is a good way to describe this film. The characters are flying, catching darts inches from their faces, running on tree tops and defying gravity in every which way possible. The beautiful score is what keeps this from being over the top. It made me look at the fighting almost as if it were dancing. It was choreographed so well. The stunning cinematography just made it even more beautiful. "Subtly ridiculous" may seem like a harsh thing to say, but I say it with appreciation for the film.
Underneath it all, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is also a love story. Upon re-watch, it's no surprise that director Ang Lee brought such a touching story to light. I consider Brokeback Mountain to be one of the best love stories of all time and now I know it didn't come out of nowhere. Ang Lee was already good at bringing romances from pages to screens. This is merely a comparison I thought of right away. I don't mean to take away from the actual screenwriters, they did a great job as well. Although the film drags in parts, I found the characters to be very intriguing. Particularly Jen. I have a soft spot for dreamers, and that's what she was. She dreamed of the life as a warrior even though she made some selfish decisions. I admired her toughness, even if I kind of wanted to drop kick her towards the end. (I'd elaborate, but that would require major spoilers) The chemistry between all of our leads is strong and only makes us care about them more. Minor flaws aside, this is a fantastic film. Tommy Wiseau (the director of The Room, the film I reviewed in round one) would probably say: "What a story, Ang!" *awkward laughing* Here's me elaborating: After everything you've gone through, put others through, and your little crusade to retrieve your hair clip of all things, you just end it all by jumping off a fucking bridge? If I was that guy who's heart you just broke, I would've lassoed your ass back on that bridge. At least she jumped with style, but that was seriously such a let down for me.