First off, I confess that this movie was playing on a flight between Munich and Atlanta and I didn’t watch it. I was fifteen and thought it was just another kung-fu movie. I guess after being in another country, I wanted to hear some English and when I woke up in the middle of it, all I saw was people flying through bamboo trees. I didn’t take it seriously nine years ago and now I feel like a jackass who missed a good time on that 13 hour flight.
The setting is nineteenth century Peking China, and Ang Lee captures its serine beauty and quiet intensity. From the ancient temples to the bamboo forest, it’s meditation for the eye. Masterfully, he keeps this scenery in perfect balance with martial arts action flying all around.
Yes, flying. I’ll get this out now, the only thing that put me off throughout this movie was the fact that these warriors can somehow just leap in the air and propel themselves as gracefully as Peter Pan. It’s beautiful really, but at points I found myself going, “Wee! Off we go!”
Whew, sorry, that is the only thing left that fifteen-on-a-plane-me has left to rant about. Really, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is an engaging story about two women, both fierce warriors, and the decisions they face in their lives revolving around the theft of an ancient sword. Shu Lien trains dutifully but never marries the man she loves is envied by Jen Yu who dreams of becoming a great warrior and being free but is set to be married into a wealthy family.
Now please, don’t let the whole warrior, martial arts, Chinese thing get your panties in a bunch and blast a Toby Keith CD. Here in America, we honor badassness. And these two Chinese chicks kick ass. They are so fun to watch and you really find yourself rooting them on. Every fight scene is so quick and acrobatic I’m in awe of the actors as well as the choreographer. It’s down right mesmerizing.
If you’re put off by fighting, don’t worry, it’s not all that violent, though your kids will still hit each other with brooms the next day and pretend they’re flying. There are some very poignant love stories moving these women along. And if you want to get all intellectual, think about empowering women in Chinese cinema.
Watch Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon after karate practice, or to ring in the Chinese New Year. And, if all viewers are able to read, watch as it was intended, in it’s native Mandarin.
“How long would you last as my enemy?”