Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (PG-13)
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First of all, this is a beautiful movie. The cinematography alone, the landscapes... beautiful. And then there are the martial arts sequences (which clearly mark this as a wuxia film), choreographed by Yuen Wo Ping, who also did The Matrix. And this is just as impossible, just as surreal, as anything from the Matrix, yet... more natural, more elegant. The main characters are Yu Shu Lien (who we like) and Li Mu Bai, two great warriors of the Wudan school of Kung-Fu. Bai grows weary of the lifestyle, all the fighting, having to deal with the Giang Hu underworld all the time. And also, he and Lien have always loved each other, but never spoken to one another of their feelings. He hopes that once he retires, this may change.
He gives his sword, the Green Destiny, to an old friend, Sir Te, but then it is stolen by a young woman named Jen Yu (who we like), who is about to enter into an arranged marriage. She would rather be free to be with an outlaw named Lo (aka "Dark Cloud"). She has also been secretly trained for years by her nursemaid, who is secretly an old foe of Bai's, called Jade Fox. She had poisoned Bai's former master and stolen an ancient Wudan manual, since women were not allowed to train at the school (though how Lien came to be such a great warrior puzzles me). In any event, Jen had surpassed her teacher, who only studied the manual's diagrams, and didn't understand anything else about it. Bai wanted to avenge his master's death, but also wanted to train Jen, though she didn't want his training.
Well... that's all I can think to say for now. But it's a great story, beautiful more than just visually. But seriously... the choreography is stunning. Probably one of the greatest martial arts films ever made. One of these days I'll have to rewatch it, possibly write up a better review. And consider raising my rating...