Crouching Tiger, Hidden dragon
Karate is when experts, through years and years of practice and training, become totally attuned with body, spirit, and mind, in order to make some of the worst films ever created. This is a rule to keep in mind, when seeing 90% of martial arts movies. However, “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” received critical acclaim upon its release, and seemed to have a plethora of elements that make for a good story. After all, what could a movie about magic swords, kung-fu, forbidden love, political intrigue, magic powers, revenge, Chinese warriors, murder and crime possibly be missing?
Oh, that’s right. A plot.
With characters that are at the same time two-dimensional, and totally impossible to understand, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” plays out more like a lucid dream than a movie. Indeed, many of the plot holes and action sequences make so little sense, most people wouldn’t even dream something that illogical.
We open with two, ancient warriors on their way to Bejing. Li Mu Bai is a warrior with a magical sword made of jade. I’m going to give you three guesses as to what his goal in this movie is, and the first two don’t count.
A) A big-mac with fries and a vanilla shake
B) The phone number of a girl he met at a party last week
C) Honor and redemption
Congratulations, the answer is B. I know, right, what a new twist.
Ok, so Li Mu Bai is actually out to slay the mysterious Jade Fox, an assassin who slew his master because she wasn’t allowed to be trained as a warrior. He has also decided that afterwards, he will give up his life as a soldier and his magic sword, in order to live a peaceful life with his female companion, Yu Shien. He wants to retire, huh? Who wants to make bets as to how long he’ll survive?
But Yu cannot marry him, because the magical guy-we-never-meet gave his life to save them, so she would be betraying his memory. Yu then meets the daughter of a wealthy politician, named Jen, who is being forced into a marriage she doesn’t want with a man she doesn’t love. She actually wants to marry a guy who kidnapped, bound, beat, and abandoned her in the desert many years ago. Thus, tempted by her teacher, the mysterious jade fox, she steals Li mu Bai’s sword. Yu sees her with the sword, however, and chases her over the rooftops. And here is where the silliness begins.
Apparently, Chinese people can fly. I’m not talking about jumping impossible distances or great heights. They just fly. I guess they all came form the planet krypton, or maybe they keep some pixie dust in a takeout box somewhere. But whatever the reason, everyone can now fly.
Jen manages to escape with the sword, and then leaves a note, telling Li Mu bai to meet Jade fox at an arena. Jade fox also brings Jen, and Li mu Bai brings a policeman and two armed guards. When the fight is over, Jen realizes something: She is more powerful than her teacher or Li mu Bai when wielding the sword. With this in mind, she goes about jilting her ex boyfriend (The one who kidnapped her) and beating up innocent bystanders. What will happen next, and when will the story make sense?
While there are some obvious surface problems with the film (ex. The movie has nothing to do with tigers or dragons, characters all seem to have severe bi-polar disorder, and their personalities constantly change) the real problem with this movie is that it relies too much on its action sequences. The movie seems to have cannibalized several ancient Chinese myths, some unfinished screenplays, and fairytales. Thus, what could have been an engaging, simple, and beautiful movie ends up being some sort of mix between “Kill Bill” and “Eraserhead.”Another Huge issue is that very little is explianed. Parts of the story sometimes take place, and half an hour later, an explanation will be given as to why. As a resault, watching the movie sometimes feels like grabbing the 7th "Harry Potter" book, with no prior knowlege at all as to what the stories are about, and just opening to the middle of the novel and hoping it will make sense. I’m still not exactly sure what the ending is supposed to be, or how it is relevant. Perhaps it is because I am an ignorant American with little understanding of Chinese culture, or because I don’t like kung-fu movies, but I didn’t enjoy this. 5/10.