Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Director: Ang Lee
This is a fantastic movie from start to finish. It is true to the art of fine storytelling, and the production of it is top-notch. If you haven't seen this film yet, rent it. It's a great blending of some fantastic martial arts and acting that leave you enthralled to the final frame. In true fashion to the eastern philosophies, this movie relies on emotion, spirituality, and doesn't end with a hacked Hollywood ending.
The story follows the indecision a warrior has come to in his life on the choices he's made in the past and how he has led his life as an esteemed master of his arts. Despite having led a life of honor and spiritual enlightenment, he still finds himself unhappy with where he now stands. So in an effort to change, he gives up his sword and tries to forge a new life, one that will hopefully include the woman he has always yearned, but could never be with do to his history and his code. It is in the theft of this sword that leads him back into his old ways, and finds both a new and old opponent to deal with.
The film takes a look at how some very strong individuals are all torn by unrequited love, betrayal, and honor. It sounds lame when I write it that way, it takes director Ang Lee two hours to tell the tale, and does it in a superb fashion. And throwing some great martial arts battles in the mix helps it from becoming too boring. The wire-fu technique is used quite a bit, especially in some great chase sequences, that give the story more of a dream-like kind of quality, but it flows well and makes the movie that much more impressive, and gives it an almost legend-like quality to it.
Looking at his past films (Eat Drink Man Woman, Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm) and the emphasis he puts on the story, it will be interesting to see how director Ang Lee treats his next project, "The Hulk" (yes, the comic-book turned tv-show).
DVD Notes: Great DVD put out by Sony Pictures Classics, includes Audio in original mandarin, english, and french, with subtitles in english & french as well. Also included is a little featurette with Michelle Yeoh, a BRAVO documentary, photo montage, and filmographies, plus commentary with Lee & the main writer of the screenplay Schamus. Excellent DVD altogether.