"The phrase 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' (Wuo hu zhan long) is a chinese idiom in which the words 'Tiger' and 'Dragon' directly refer to people with special hidden talents. This idiom is used to remind people to never underestimate anybody."- This is from here, that I saw here, that explains that the title is a Chen Yu
This movie comes at a time when people are really starting to enjoy seeing women kicking ass and the younger they are the better it is. Charlie's Angels, Xena, Buffy, Chyna, Laura Croft, and good old Ripley are signs of that we can't get enough of estrogen charged action heroines. It's no surprise that this movie is a hit.
Ziyi Zhang plays Jen and she's a young, attractive, aristocrat, and super human ass kicking tempermental bitch. How could you not like her? Michelle Yeoh does a decent job here that almost makes me forgive her for Supercop 2. Yun-Fat Chow manages to offer another stiff performance that probably wasn't noticed by people reading the subtitles instead of his expression
s. The last movie I saw of his that I liked was Hard-Boiled, but even then it was Tony Leung Chiu Wai that stole the show.
The biggest problem with this movie is pacing. The other problem is the silly looking flying. In anime, flying doesn't look as bad in part because it's animated and usually the characters are merely doing incredibly long jumps between buildings rather then flying about with their feet treading air. The only time where it doesn't look bad is the final scene in the trees. I like fantasy fighting and martial arts, but sometimes when they mix it doesn't work. The fight in the inn made me long for Legend of the Drunken Master (Drunken Master 2) or Fist of Legend and the flying made me long for ZU: Warriors from The Magic Mountain. The latter example is one of most colorful, crazy, and entertaining movies around. It's like an Asian version of Clash of the Titans, but with better fight scenes and with more imagination. The bad guy as a big piece of red cloth part is brilliant.
Roger Ebert makes a bunch of interesting points in his review, but he screws up a plot detail.
"He has for many years been in love with Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh), and she with him, but their personal feelings wait upon vengeance and upon their attempts to recapture Green Destiny, a sword that once belonged to Li Mu Bai's master and has recently been sold to the wealthy district governor."
So I am forced to wonder if he's just going on feel for this movie. The Sword was stolen and never sold to anyone. He is so gracious as to not reveal Jen's secret, which is so obvious from the first scene with her and Yu Shu Lien. It's not like knowing who is Kieser Soze. Yes, Jen's little romance segue was cute and all, but the tragic love of Yu Shu Lien and Li Mu Bai felt like such an obvious manipulation for a sad ending. Speaking of endings, this movie just didn't want to end. The movie clocks in at 120 minutes and feels like 180.
The best thing about this movie is Ziyi Zhang. I want to see just how talented her martial ability is in her next film when someone steals her favorite hat and she hunts him down letting nothing stand in her way.