This is one of the movies I’ve been putting off due to the title. I know it’s crazy but I just couldn’t bring myself to think that a movie with a title like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” had anything to offer. A timid tiger and shy dragon doesn’t really appeal to my tastes. If they’d have named it “Death by a Thousand Flaming Swords” or something, I’d watch it in a New York minute.
Luckily, I planned to watch it some day. It was one of those exceptional films that you knew would be a great viewing experience from the opening from some uneventful dialogue. The film is more an intersection of two films, a story of two women warriors. One is young and brash while the other is world weary.
Chow Yun-Fat is a famed warrior who entrusts Michelle Yeoh, his comrade in arms, with his sword to be kept at a friend’s house so that he may give up the warrior life (and secretly wishes to finally consummate the love he has for Michelle). Zhang Ziyi is a governor’s daughter secretly schooled in the ways of a warrior from a woman warrior posing as her servant that rebelled from Chow’s master, killing him when she was not allowed to further her studies.
All would have been well until Zhang steals Chow’s retired sword, the Green Destiny. Chow is fascinated by Zhang’s talent and wants to teach her properly while Zhang’s rebellious nature prevents her from obeying anyone.
The notable thing about this movie is the sense of restraint that carries the film through while the fighting sequences are dynamic yet elegant. Chow’s higher mastery of the art leaves him composed and effortless at most times.
There is a great contrast between Chow and Michelle’s restrained love for each other cloaked under friendship while Zhang and her desert pirate lover fall for each other in a fit of passion with ups and downs.
The true masters of the art of fighting are mellow and compassionate while the young and promising are burned by their own fire. Melancholy ending was both sad and beautiful. I’m actually glad that I waited this long to see this movie so that I could truly appreciate it.Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon