Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is an early attempt to bring foreign films -- specifically, the Chinese kung fu fantasy -- to an American audience with high production values and more sophisticated plotting than the usual chopsui. It succeeds admirably, and was justly recognized with multiple awards.
As a fan of chopsui, I was not disappointed. The kung fu is powerful in this movie. Although much is fast, it is not too fast to follow, and the camerawork does an excellent job of maintaining a smooth visual continuity that showcases even the more complex fighting. The fighting utilitizes a variety of weaponry, without skimping on the unarmed combat, and there are several brilliant sequences. Unfortunately, the movie also suffers from an overuse of wirework and flight sequences; while those are to some extent a tradition in the genre, it's not a tradition that I approve of. Such scenes only mildly detract from the rest, however.
The plotting suffers from an overly romantic digression in the middle that slows down the story, but understanding that the original source material was much broader than the story told on film makes me inclined to forgive this flaw in deference to fans who can appreciate it's presence.
Aside from that digression, the underlying story is well-told, with all the appropriate elements for a kung-fu fantasy: enlightenment, revenge, love, betrayal, and mysticism. The movie can be appreciated by fans of the genre and the general public equally well. Highly recommended.
This entry was published Mon Apr 11 23:22:44 CDT 2005 by Matthew
and last updated 2013-08-14 14:02:06.0.