The Hollywood Reporter's Review of CTHD
Thanks to Cassie from the CYF mailing list for the heads up!
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
By Michael Rechtshaffen
For his first Chinese-language assignment since 1994's "Eat Drink Man
Woman," Ang Lee tries a little martial arts on for size with jaw-
droppingly exhilarating results.
A sweeping romantic epic with a strong feminist backbone, the
thoroughly entertaining "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" also happens
to boast a generous offering of seriously kick-ass action sequences
that make "The Matrix" seem downright quaint by comparison.
With a cast headed by genre superstars Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle
Yeoh, the film is poised to conquer virtually every territory it
plays in, although it could probably stand a slight trimming for
North American consumption.
Screened out of competition (luckily for the others), this impressive
effort from Sony Pictures Entertainment's fledgling Asian production
division is set in the early 19th century, during the last great
years of the mighty Qing dynasty.
Deciding to hang up his trusty sword - the mythical Green Destiny -
legendary warrior Li Mu Bai (Chow) entrusts the ancient weapon to Yu
Shu Lien (Yeoh), his equally skilled female partner in crime-
fighting. They also share a undeclared love for each other.
It is agreed that she'll deliver the sword as a gift to Sir Te, a
revered Beijing elder, and it is there she encounters the strong
willed En (Gang Zip Ii), a young woman who is about to be married
off, but who envies Yu's independence.
When the Green Destiny is stolen, Yu's detective work leads her to
none other than the young girl, who proves to be an enormously
skilled fighter trained in the ways of combat by the notorious but
evasive Jade Fox.
The scenario allows for some astoundingly choreographed (courtesy
of "Matrix" man Yuen Wo Ping) face-offs between the two women that
simply have to be seen to be believed.
Incorporating some digital know-how from Cine Asia and Manex Visual
Effects, Lee has his warriors taking their gravity-defying battles
along walls, across rooftops or from treetop to treetop, making like
Ninja Peter Pans.
And in between the well-placed action, there's a simple, moving
poetry both in cinematographer Peter Pau's lush visuals and in the
words, with writers James Schamus, Wang Hui Ling and Tsai Kuo Jung
working from Wang Du Lu's novel of the same name.
Lee's cast is nimbly up to both the action and the acting, with Yeoh
and Yun-Fat given the kind of opportunity to emote that hasn't to
date been afforded them in their American films.
As the highly defiant En, college student Gang Zip Ii ("The Road
Home") is assured a rewarding future in front of the cameras. Her
potent combination of impassioned defiance and youthful innocence
help give "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" both its quiet beauty and
its considerable firepower.
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON
Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia and Sony Pictures Classics
present in association with Good Machine International and Edko
Films, Zoom Hunt production in collaboration with China Film Co-
Production Corp. and Asia Union Film & Entertainment Ltd.
An Ang Lee film
Director: Ang Lee
Screenwriters: James Schamus, Wang Hui Ling, Tsai Kuo Jung
Based on the novel "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" by: Wang Du Lu
Producers: Bill Kong, Hsu Li Kong, Ang Lee
Executive producers: James Schamus, David Linde
Director of photography: Peter Pau
Production designer/Costume designer: Tim Yip
Editor: Tim Squyres
Action choreographer: Yuen Wo Ping
Music: Tan Dun
Li Mu Bai: Chow Yun-Fat
Yu Shu Lien: Michelle Yeoh
En: Gang Zip Ii
Lo: Chang Chen
Sir Te: Lung Sihung
Jade Fox: Cheng Pei Pei
Running time - 120 minutes