Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a cinematic masterpiece. It is easily one of the most beautiful films ever made. It is director Ang Lee’s crowning achievement. It would be a discredit to label this film as just another martial arts movie. It is so much more than that. It is a story of forbidden love, duty, and honor. There are many subplots in the film but the main story line focuses around the theft of a famed sword called the Green Destiny. Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat), a Wudan master, and his warrior friend Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) try and recover the sword and learn the thief is in fact a girl named Jen (Zhang Ziyi), the daughter of the Governor. During their investigation they learn that Jen is the apprentice of a killer known as the Jade Fox (Pei-Pei Cheng). The Jade Fox is in fact the murderer of Li Mu Bai’s old master. Seeing his chance to avenge his masters death, Li Mu Bai confronts Jen and after seeing great potential her, tries to convince her to become his apprentice. We also learn that Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien have deep feelings for each other but cannot act on them and that Jen has a secret love from her past named Lo (Chen Chang). The fight sequences are some of the best ever committed to film. The battles between Jen and Shu Lien are amazing and Jen’s battle in the restaurant is great. My favorite scene is the fight that takes place between Li Mu Bai and Jen in the bamboo forest. It is absolutely beautiful. All the fights were choreographed by the great Yuen Wo Ping (The Matrix films). The music throughout the film is hypnotizing. The score by Tan Dun and the cello solo by Yo-Yo Ma are haunting and poignant. I cannot say enough good things about this film. I personally feel it should have won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2000 instead of Gladiator. I truly feel it is one of the greatest movies ever made. I highly recommend this film!
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