Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

release year: 2000
genre: drama/martial arts
viewing setting: theater, 1/12/2001
what I expected: judging by the reviews, some Oscar-worthy epic
what I got: well-acted, well-choreographed slow plodding love story with a few fight scenes

synopsis: A great warrior wants to leave the violent lifestyle behind him, so he gives away his legendary sword. then it gets stolen and all kinds of crazy things start to happen.

impressions: Yes, it had combat scenes that put American movies to shame. Yes, it had a complicated and sweeping love story (two of them, actually.) Yes, it had all sorts of neat Eastern elements, such as magic and assassins. None of this changes the fact that it sometimes made little sense, that it was slow in several parts, and most importantly, that it showed a culture that the average American can't comprehend - including me. I found it often boring and overall little more than a twist - a martial arts/magic twist - on all of those slow-paced, romantic American movies that I generally refuse to see.

acting: Superb, no doubt about that. Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh, both known for action-oriented roles, have outdone themselves here with more dramatic ones. Zhang Ziyi also did a great job as the young princess Jen. All of these were the dramatic roles of a lifetime and should glean these people some much-deserved awards.

final word: Worth seeing, but its main value will be that it does well critically and thus opens American audiences' eyes to this genre.

rating: C

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