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Crouching Tiger,Hidden Tiger

Storyline
In the early 19th century, martial arts master Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat) is hanging up his sword, the legendary 400 year old blade known as "Green Destiny". Although still keen on avenging the death of his late master who was killed by the witch Jade Fox (Chang Pei Pei) Li now seems more inclined to a meditative life and entrusts the sword to Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) a friend and warrior with whom he has experienced a mutual and long supressed love.The sword is to be taken to Beijing. While delivering the sword,Yu meets the petite and headstrong Jen (Zhang Ziji), a politician's daughter who is unhappy at being forced into an arranged marriage.Jen becomes fascinated by the thought of Yu's free wheeling life.
The real story begins when the Green Destiny is stolen and Mu Bai returns to recover it... To complicated matters,Jen's secret former lover Lo (Chang Chen) returns just she is about to wed another.

Review
Already a hit in Asia, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon received numerous praises and enthusiastic response during its' screening at the Cannes Film Festival and it's set to open in US and Europe this Christmas Fortunately I was able to catch the film back home in Malaysia during the summer break and let me say this: it's superior to the over-hyped M:I-2 (sorry John!). I know this film has nothing to do with John Woo but it's simply too good to be ignored. Ang Lee did say that directing a kung-fu fantasy epic has always been one of his childhood dream. I think he achieved it brilliantly with Crouching Tiger. Although I'm no kungfu fan myself,I enjoy Crouching Tiger temendously. The cinematography handled by Peter Pau (who also handled the cameras for Woo's The Killer) is simply breathless and the action chereography by Wo-Ping is flawless. Of course,having Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh as leads are added bonuses but I must stress that the real star here is the lovely Zhang Ziji. She handled her role well and manage to hold her own during scenes with veterans Chow and Yeoh. Although only starring in her second film, Zhang Ziji shows promise of being China's biggest film export since Gong Li. Although I'm singing praises for this film, it does have its' flaws in some areas. Ang Lee may be a masterful director of epics and dramas but he's still a novice when it comes to action films.This being his first action picture, he handled it well although his weakness does surface every now and then. The martial arts sequences are beautiful to look at but most of them drags on for far too long. Any action film fan can tell you that beautiful action sequences loses its' appeal if it carries on for too long. This aside, the film is simply superb and definitely worth catching.

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