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Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Martial Arts Fantasy

This winner of four 2000 Oscars is definitely not your average martial arts kick 'em up! Rather, it's an epic adventure fantasy on a grand scale, featuring lush and gorgeous Chinese locations shot in beautiful widescreen, accompanied by wonderful audio and, best of all, populated with characters you can almost believe and who you want to see succeed.

The story follows two master warriors of legendary proportions, Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat) and Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh), who find themselves facing a challenge of legendary proportions after Li Mu Bai's famed Green Destiny sword is stolen.

Li Mu Bai has had enough of his warrior's life and wants to settle down with his love, Yu Shu Lien, but circumstances refuse to allow it. Suddenly they must use all their talent and experience to battle the mysterious young woman (played by Zhang Ziyi), a person with two personalities who proves to be a most formidable foe.

She's a lot more than that, too. She's a romantic at heart, but consigned to an arranged marriage.

The story pulls you along and, despite the ludicrousness of some of the abilities the martial arts masters display, you write that off to "legend" and accept the film on its own terms. The cast, particularly Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi, turn in excellent performances, the fight choreography is as breathtaking as the landscapes, and the whole movie becomes a marvelous experience in which to immerse oneself.

According to the liner notes, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon cost a mere $15 million to film, and that seems an incredibly tiny amount considering the action and the epic scale that director Ang Lee has put on screen.

The DVD does the film justice. It's offered with digitally mastered anamorphic widescreen video (16x9 TV compatible) and both the Mandarin Chinese and dubbed English soundtracks is in Dolby Digital 5.1. Audio and video quality are nothing short of superb; the Chinese government could use this film as a tourist hook.

Extras abound as well, including a running commentary by director Lee and co-writer James Schamus,a "making of" special, a conversation with star Michelle Yeoh, a photo montage, filmographies, production notes, etc.

If you can get over the fantastic flying (remember, this is a fantasy!), Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is a fantastic movie - in the best sense of the word "fantastic." And if you aren't a fan of Yo Yo Ma and his cello already, chances are you will be by the time this movie ends.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
120 min, widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 TV compatible, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen
Written by Wang Hui Ling and James Schamus and Tsai Kuo Jung
Produced by Hssu Li Kong, Bill Kong, Ang Lee, Directed by Ang Lee


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Updated May 13, 2006