Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Year: 2000
Directed By: Ang Lee
Written By: Du Lu Wang


I find myself asking the same question now that I asked when I saw this movie the first time twelve years ago, “Can the Chinese really fly?” It still doesn’t make sense to me unless this is just some super secret the western world has been kept out of.  This is a foreign film so perhaps it was never meant to be seen in the western world, Ang Lee must have found himself in some hot water for letting the secret out when the movie became a hit in the states. In America (especially the south) we live with certain assumptions about the Chinese, such as them all being capable martial artists with mystical powers, this movie did nothing to dispel such ridiculous ideas.

I remember telling everyone how good this movie was. That it was so good it was worth reading all the subtitles. When it was released in theaters twelve years ago it wasn’t dubbed into English so reading the subtitles was a necessity but it was worth it.  I thought this was one of the best martial arts movies I had ever seen, I had not yet been introduced to Bruce Lee films though.  The martial arts are great despite all the flying around.  A good variety of weapons are used throughout the film as well and there is plenty of fighting.  There is a good story here but long retarding points that feel almost unbearable. That is a mark of the director however, Ang Lee will usually excite then bore the hell out of you with endless landscape shots.  Hulk was the same way, and while I haven’t seen it I imagine Brokeback Mountain is similar. Ang Lee isn’t a bad director, but I am not his biggest fan.  He is apparently in post-production right now for Life of Pi. I read the book a few years ago and really look forward to the film.  It is an excellent book. I found it both moving and exciting and after about fifty pages I literally could not put it down.

The title Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is based on a Chinese proverb about the mysteries that lie hidden within seemingly ordinary individuals.  That’s interesting because it is something we should all consider in everyday life.  Think of all the things you do on any given day that you never tell anyone about, the secrets that you keep to yourself.  Then try to imagine what anybody else out there might be doing and keeping to themselves.  Some people walk through the world with no one ever knowing who they truly are.  It’s what makes the world a dangerous place really, you never know what truly lies in the heart of the people you know.

This is a really cool movie but it isn’t easy trying to get someone to watch a foreign film. It was much easier when it was the big thing twelve years ago.  This is a cool movie and I would recommend it to anyone, it is worth your time to see it.


I have to be honest, I am not quite sure what this movie is really about. The plot has always been lost to me. I think I have seen it like seven times now and every time I try to concentrate on their lips instead of the voice-overs like I should. Come to think of it, I should probably watch it again with subtitles. I don’t know why I haven’t thought about that before.

Having said that, I really enjoy this movie because of the amazing fighting scenes. And the people in the film are just beautiful to look at. I also thoroughly enjoy watching the main character write in Chinese with the brush. I would though, right? Being a designer and all. In any case. I think I may come back and update this post when I re-watch the movie with subtitles. But in the meantime, I still say you should watch it because the fighting is amazing. I mean they fly around and kick each other’s asses. What is cooler than that?

NEXT MOVIE: Cutthroat Island (1995)



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