Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny Review
Director: Woo-Ping Yuen
So, Netflix take on the sequel to Ang Lee's original 2000 spectacle which gladly reached a much wider, international audience for a martial art movie. It continues of the sword and fantasy during the Qing dynasty being central to Michelle Yeoh's Yu Shu Lien and this time, Donnie Yen playing the complicated romantic interest. He's not replacing Yun-Fat Chow's Li Mu Bai, of course not, but is simply another character thrown into the fray.
The actually phrase "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" was first coined by the Chinese poet, Yu Xin, and is sometimes use to refer to the real life military strategist and philosopher, Zhuge Liang or sometimes known as Kongming, the same guy who invented the fashionable lanterns that people release into the sky. Being symbolic of a true master in hiding, possibly waiting. Almost like Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. But I'm not entirely sure who it's referring to in the film.
The legendary Woo-Ping Yuen, director of many Kung fu classics such as The Drunken Master and fight choreographer for The Matrix returns to direct this sequel. I say return as he was, of course, the fight choreographer for Ang Lee's previous film,
The fighting is exceptionally creative, fantastic and plentiful but that shouldn't be too surprising with Woo-Ping at the helm. The wire work is unfortunately too obvious, some of the fighting being comical but pays homage to the classic Kung Fu's of old and on the whole, beautifully executed and captured.
Michelle Yeoh returns and as always, does impressively well considering she is not trained in the martial arts. Hong Kong superstar Donnie Yen does what he does best and is in no means a disappointment to watch him in action playing Silent Wolf. (Makes you think of Chuck Norris yes?) But it was great to see Jason Scott Lee, though much older than Disney's Mowgli and the Bruce Lee he played in Dragon.
Shigeru Umebayashi does a grand score, respecting traditional music of the orient and creating a strong sense of mysticism and fantasy.
Something to be noted about this film is the spoken language. Being filmed in English because surprisingly, Ang Lee's film insulted much of the mandarin speaking world, convincing the studios to choose an English dialogue so not to repeat the same mistake. Only three of the four key characters in Ang Lee's film actually spoke fluent mandarin.
Whilst it's a good film, it has loss the majestic gracefulness the first film had, a certain elegance and finesse, but as a stand alone martial art picture, it's good enough and very enjoyable.
Running Time: 7
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 5
The Extra Bonus Point: 0
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Probably not.