Thursday, May 20, 2010

Theater Thursday: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Spoiler Warning - Okay as the title says I'm going to be talking about a movie. Despite the fact that my Theater Thursday posts are more discussion than review I will be talking about what goes on during the movie and doing so I will inevitably bring up specific details about said movie. If I bring up specific details about a movie that you haven't seen yet this is what you call a spoiler. Now its up to you and your taste in movies to decide if you don't want to read said spoiler. So now that I have explained a spoiler I warn you. This post contains specific details about the movie mentioned in the title of this post that you may not want to read. Tread carefully.

Tonight I want to take a look at what I can say is one of my favorite movies of all time, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. But in a way that has just recently crossed my mind.

Okay when it comes to movies the The System pretty much says that when it comes to movies women want lovey dovey romance and men want kickass action. And oddly enough this movie (IMHO) does both pretty damn well.

As the story goes renowned disciple of the Wudan school of fighting Li Mu Bai (played by the awesome Chow Yun Fat) has grown tired of combat and wishes to retire to a life of peace. To formalize his retirement he gives his sword, Green Destiny (a powerful Chinese broadsword made by techniques lost to the ages), to his old friend Sir Te. While visiting his friend he meets Shu Lien (played by the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh), fellow Wudan student, and the sparks fly once again. Once again you ask? Well they have actually had feelings for each other for a long time but they could never speak up because Shu Lien was betrothed to Lu Mu Bai's master (who has passed away by the time the movie starts). Things start to get real interesting from there.

The following night after turning Green Destiny over to Te it is stolen. The thief Jade Fox, in an impressive show of acrobatics and fighting skills against Shu Lien, makes off with the legendary blade. A short time later we see that our young thief has a love interest of her own desert bandit Lo.

When it comes to fulfilling what The System says appeals to men and women in movies this movie has it all.

"For men" there are the fight sequences. There are two fight sequences that I really enjoy. Fairly early in the movie after Jade Fox steals Green Destiny she is at a tavern/restaurant when she is set upon by a rather large gang of thugs (really large, I'm talking 30+ cats). At first you think that there is no way she can take that many out at once. Oh not only does she proceed to take them all out but also managed to rack up a pretty serious repair (or should I say rebuilding) bill. She literally brings the house down. Nothing really philosophical here just a really awesome fight.

On the other hand later on in the movie out young Jade Fox meets her better when attempting to steal Green Destiny again and is pursued by the original owner, Li Mu Bai. During this confrontation its apparent that Bai is the Crouching Tiger and Jade is the Hidden Dragon. While not as action packed and intense as the fight I mention above this fight was simply beautiful and profound. After a stunning pursuit across treetops Bai confronts Jade about her potential as a great a fighter and offers to teach her the ways of Wudan and show her how to harness her power. At one point he even allows her to attack him and he not only counters her moves but he explains why her attack failed....all with a random stick.

Great action plus profoundness is a sure combination to satisfy most "men's tastes" in movies (bear in mind I'm speaking of the stereotypes not what men actually think). Oh and I also recommend the Jade Fox vs. Shu Lien fight at the Wudan temple.

In the midst of all this fighting there are also two love stories going on.

First you have the love between Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien. As I said they have had romantic feelings for each other for a long time but were never able to act on it because Lien was betrothed to Bai's master. Bear in mind that this story is taking place in a time and place where one didn't have the luxury of falling in love with and pursuing whoever they or fate wished. No when one was prearranged to marry someone they didn't have the option to just say no and not marry them for such action could disgrace one's entire family. And just as expected they don't get to truly express their feelings for each other until the very end of the movie when Bai literally uses his last breath, dying from the effects of poison, to kiss Lien goodbye. Okay I am not one for romance but I'll admit that this kinda hit me a little bit. I would go nuts if I went years not being able to show my love for someone. But I supposed that final kiss was supposed to make up for all those years. It was a nice moment but it seems to me they were both cheated.

Next you have the love between Jade Fox and Lo. Fox, a aristocrat, was sitting in a wagon in a traveling caravan when her life was forever changed when it was attacked by Lo and his crew of desert bandits. Lo introduces himself by stealing a comb out of Fox's hair. Not one to just sit and wait for help she goes against the norm and takes a horse and gives chase after the bandit. After a day or so of chasing him through the desert she finally catches him but he manages to get the upperhand and takes here. But something odd happens. Instead of doing the usual rape, pillage, and plunder. Fox and Lo actually spend several days hidden away and connect. Almost as fast as they connection starts it ends when Fox leaves to return to her own world. Lo manages to shake things up during the film when he reappears to claim the love of his life in the middle of all the strange happenings over the Green Destiny. I won't spoil how that goes.

So as you can see this movie, according to the stereotypes set in place by The System, is the perfect movie by way of having something to appeal to men and women. I personally enjoyed the fighting and the love stories so maybe this makes me odd but all in all despite what the stereotypes may say I stand by my thought that this is one of my favorite movies of all.

So what are your thoughts on this movie?


Clarence W said...

I liked it as well :)

Very touching scenes. Thanks for the memories.

Danny said...

Happy to oblige.