Wudan master Li Mu Bai (Yun-fat)
has decided to forgo his days as a warrior and concentrate on spiritual enlightenment
and teaching for the rest of his days. In doing this, he gives his sword,
the mythical Green Destiny, to the Peking monks at the grand place. Entrusting
his life long friend and fellow warrior Yu Shu Lien (Yeoh) with the duty of
delivering the sword, it is stolen on the first night in its new abode by
a skilled masked thief, who is seen feeling towards the aristocratic home
of the Governor Yu. Suspicions are raised as the Governor's daughter Jen (Ziyi)
had shown an interest in the sword earlier in the day. So Li Mu Bai and Yu
Shu Lien join forces one more time to try and recover the sword and restore
harmony to the palace.
Stories from the Orient
have always intrigued the West but one movie transformed their expectations
and also transformed Asian cinema forever, that film was 'Crouching Tiger,
Any fan of Asian cinema
will know that the mixing of epic storytelling and martial arts in nothing
new but it wasn't until 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' gained Oscar recognition
that mainstream, Western audiences started to take notice. Ang Lee's adaptation
of Du Lu Wang's beloved novel mixed honour, love, duty, envy and guilt with
a view of martial arts that saw warriors as heroes with powers and skills
above that of mortal man. With masters having the ability to defy the laws
of nature and physics but pulling off moves that couldn't have been achieved
by even the greatest real life master and even fly.
A story that deals
with honour, passion, undisciplined skill and love that cannot be, has never
been told with such zeal and jaw dropping splendour. Legendary choreographer
Yuen Wo Peng, who is probably best known for his work on 'The Matrix' and
'Kill Bill' movies, invents some truly astounding martial arts sequences that
will live in the memory for a very long time. Using wire techniques and combining
them with the Wudan style, Chow Yun-fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi and Pei-pei
Cheng appear to be masters of the discipline.
While there is no
question that the martial arts and swordplay in the movie are superb but this
would be nothing without the strength of the performances. Unlike many a martial
arts movie, the story is more important than the fighting, so performers who
can act as well as fight was a must for Ang Lee. In Chow Yun-fat, Michelle
Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi as Li Mu Bai, Yu Shu Lien and Jiao Long, the director
has the gift of actors who can bring power to the emotion of the story, as
well as a presence in the fight scenes. This is what makes the movie stand
out and move Asian cinema into the mainstream.
It is the combination
of the whole; great story, impassioned acting performance, astonishing cinematography,
and a director who has now proved he can handle almost any kind of movie with
a sense of style and splendour, 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' is a superb
piece of filmmaking and a movie that opened Asian cinema to the world.
PICTURE & SOUND
The Blu-Ray disc is presented in
High Definition wide screen 2:40 up to 1080p, with Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround
Commentary with Ang Lee and
The director and executive producer provide an insightful and informative
commentary for 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'. The pair talk passionately
about the story, the performances and the martial arts, making this a good
listen for fans of the film and the filmmaker Ang Lee.
A conversation with Michelle
Yeoh (13.50 mins/Standard Definition)
One of the most famous actresses in Asian history, Michelle Yeoh talks about
how she got involved with the movie, working with Chow Yun-fat and Ang Lee
and what the film means to her.
Unleashing the Dragon (20.47
Director Ang Lee, executive producer James Schamus and star Michelle Yeoh
talk about making 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' and bringing the story
to the silver screen.
Photo Gallery (6.44 mins/Standard
Watch a montage of promotional images from 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'
Place the Blu-Ray in an Internet enabled player or PS3 and connect to receive
extra content for the film.
Disappointingly, the Blu-Ray
treatment for 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' is exactly the same as the
original DVD release with the exception of BD Live. While the bonus are good,
especially the commentary, a few new items wouldn't have gone a miss.
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