Runtime: 2 Hours
I LOVE THIS FUCKING MOVIE!!!!!
Now, I suppose you're wondering: what exactly makes you love this
movie, Dale? What makes you type such a bold statement? Well, it would
be nice if I didn't have to tell you. It would be cool if you could
just take this on faith and go see it for yourself, and get blindsided
by this brilliant and ruthlessly entertaining film but I suppose that
I should tell you a little bit about it anyway.
The plot is pretty simple, just like the plot of most great movies
("Once Upon a Time
in the West", which this movie is just as good as, doesn't
have the most complex of plots either and it just doesn't matter in
either case). It concerns a master Wudan master named Li Mu Bai (the
incomparable Chow Yun Fat, who displays pages of nobility with a single
gesture) who is thinking about giving up his life of fighting and
wandering and, with it, hanging up his sword: the famous Green Destiny.
He charges his longtime friend and fellow Wudan fighter (Michelle
Yeoh, adept at the fight sequences and also masterful at the other
scenes) with taking the sword to another master, Sir Te. When it gets
there, however, the famous implement is soon stolen by a thief who
slips away in the night. But not before a magical action sequence
that makes pretty much 98% of the action scenes I have ever watched
look lame by comparison. Soon, they are searching for the sword and
investigating the young daughter of a high-ranking official. Ziyi
Zhang is the young woman, a sensational actress and amazing physical
performer. Needless to say, she is far less innocent than she seems.
I cannot stress how amazing the action in this movie is. There is
not one sequnce that will not make your jaw drop. The choreography
by Woo-Ping Yuen (the man who made Keanu soar in "The
Matrix") is nothing less than miraculous. The performers
are so lithe and nimble that they reminded me of Gene Kelly in his
heydey. They soar, they kick and fight with an astounding grace. They
move like no other actors ever have. It's amazing when you realize
that the only digital magic used to bring these sequences to life
were used in removing the cables which made the actors literally fly.
But there is more to this movie than just the action. The movie itself
slowly peels away dramatic and emotional layers that make it easily
the most involving martial arts movie ever crafted. The cinematography
and scenery are gorgeous and breath-taking. The relationships between
the characters are so subtle and gripping: the unspoken love between
Chow and Michelle, the feelings between Ziyi and her desert pirate
lover, the many facets to Ziyi's mesmerizing character. There is not
a moment of this movie that is less than interesting, less than breathtaking,
less than magical. The acting, the scenery, the beautiful and lush
score, the remarkable transitions, the fights, the way that the actors
seem to glide through the air in a fluid way that reminded me less
of "The Matrix" than it
did of the Peter Pan of my dreams, the gorgeous costumes, the mythic
Add all that up and I don't think I need to tell you that "Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is more than just a masterpiece. I think
it takes some sort of divine intervention to make a movie this spectacular.
"Crouching Tiger" is more than one of the best pictures
of the year (I was shocked at how close "Quills"
came, it may be just as good, but it will take more viewings of both
movies to know for sure), it's one of those once-in-a-lifetime cinematic