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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh
Director: Ang Lee
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 119 Minutes
Release Date: December 2000
Genres: Action, Foreign

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1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie review
2.  MrBrown read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
3.  Harvey Karten read the review ---
4.  Edward Johnson-Ott read the review ---
5.  UK Critic read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
6.  Angela C. read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

The much anticipated and highly praised CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON is the most overrated film of the year. Although it has MATRIX-inspired moments that are truly magical, these are few and far between. A talky film with remarkably little to say, it features characters that are never fleshed out or worth caring about. Kung fu fans will be probably be willing to wait through more long dry spots than Death Valley in order to watch the fighting. Others may find themselves in the unusual position of frequently checking their watches in what, one assumes, is supposed to be an action picture. Certainly, if the action sequences were removed, the rest of the comatose script would not be worth watching.

In CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, director Ang Lee (SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and THE ICE STORM) has come up with the least interesting film of his career, one that is, on the whole, not up even to his last effort, RIDE WITH THE DEVIL.

Chow Yun Fat, after his disastrous performance in ANNA AND THE KING, plays the male lead, Li Mu Bai, who is in the process of giving up his famous sword, Green Destiny. Joining him is the head of the Yuan Security Compound, Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh, TOMORROW NEVER DIES). Along the way, Jen (Zhang Ziyi), a disciple of the evil Jade Fox (Cheng Pei Pei), captures the sword. Needless to say, the others will want to get it back.

The trailers show almost all of the good scenes from the movie. As they fight with swords and fists, the actors get to walk on water as well as treetops and thin bamboo. Almost all of their movements do not occur naturally in nature. These sequences could have formed the basis for a wonderful motion picture, but, as soon as the action stops, the actors start to slowly, painfully slowly, drone on with some of the most lifeless dialog of the year.

Based on the trailers, I expected a magical motion picture. Instead, I got a tedious one that is interrupted sporadically by interludes of brilliance. According to my watch, with which I become well acquainted during the screening, I believe that there are about 10 minutes of a great movie interspersed into an exceedingly dull one. See the trailers; skip the movie.

CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON runs a long 1:59. The film is in Mandarin with English subtitles. It is rated PG-13 for martial arts violence and some sexuality and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up. I suspect, however, that most kids will be quite bored.

Copyright 2000 Steve Rhodes

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