Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

crouchingDirector: Ang Lee

Writer: Hi-Ling Wang, James Schamus, Kuo Jung Tsai (Screenplay) Du Lu Wang (Book)

Starring: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang, Sihung Lung, Pei-Lei Cheng

 

Plot: Two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically skilled, adolescent nobleman’s daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Visual Experience

 

Story: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon starts when Master Li Mu Bai (Chow) a warrior turned devoted monk medicates great sorrow leading him to ask Yu Shu Lien (Yeoh) to give up him sword to a trusted friend Sir Te (Lung). Putting the sword in safety Shu Lien meets a young governor’s daughter Jen Yu (Zhang) who dreams of being a warrior like Li Mu Bai and Shun Lien.

When the sword is stolen, it appears the Jade Fox (Cheng) has returned and this bring Master Li Mu Bai out of retirement to avenge his master’s murder at the hands of the Jade Fox. Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien go in search for the sword as the two get to face an enemy they didn’t see coming with powers unlike anything they have fought before, one that can be trained to continue their art of combat in Jen Yu who for now has been led astray by the Jade Fox.

 

Thoughts on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

 

Characters/PerformanceMaster Li Mu Bai is a character that we have come to identify in martial arts films for years, the one who has complete calmness in his action and always in control during combat. It is the two female lead characters Yu Shin Lien and Jen Yu that all reach the next level for the characters in a world that is often male dominated having these two character in a mix of good versus potential evil on Jen Yu is a character that could go either way through the film.

The performances from Michelle Yeoh and Ziyi Zhang are both brilliant as they both show their skills in the arts along with the men in this film. Yun-Fat Chow is also great through the film is the male lead at a time when we all wanted a new leading man for the martial arts film.stars

StoryWith the story we dive back into ancient China to see how the beliefs between the people with honour and training could create the moment you needed for peace. We do have an action story in here about how easy it could be to be led astray by the darker side of these abilities as we watch the two heroes of the story try to show the young soon to be master the right path to follow while she is being led astray by the villainous Jade Fox. The story is easy to follow and you can full understand how important it is to have both sides of the story being told to teach Jen Yu the right path.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/RomanceThe action is unlike anything you would have seen before which is great to see because too many films just copy and paste action together. The romance side of the story is also strong because it tests the characters to push their honour for love with the fantasy coming from how the action is constructed.

SettingsThe breath-taking ancient China setting makes this one of the most visual treats you will see in any film.

Special EffectsWhile mostly practical effects with wires the effects captured between the character’s fight sequences are brilliant through the whole film.genre

Final ThoughtsEasily one of the best martial arts films you will see, based on more than just the fight sequences but the training to make it happen.

 

Overall: Nominated for Best Picture and you can see why it was.

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Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Director: Ang Lee

Writer: Emma Thompson (Screenplay) Jane Austin (Novel)

Starring: Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Tom Wilkinson, James Fleet, Harriet Walter, Gemma Jones

 

Plot: Rich Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his second wife and her three daughters poor by the rules of inheritance. The two eldest daughters are the titular opposites.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Perfect Period Piece

 

Story: Sense and Sensibility starts when Mr Dashwood (Wilkinson) dies leaving his inheritance to his son John (Fleet) by law, his wife Fanny (Walter) wants his second wife Mrs Dashwood (Jones) and the daughters Elinor (Thompson), Marianna (Winslet) and Margaret (Francois) to move out as soon as possible living off just the £500 a year.

As the family moves to a small cottage Elinor must leave the early feelings she has for Fanny’s brother Edward Ferrars (Grant). While in the cottage Elinor watches as Marianne gets courted by a couple of men Colonel Brandon (Rickman) and John Willoughby (Wise) who both could bring the family back to the high life.

 

Thoughts on Sense and Sensibility

 

Characters/PerformanceElinor Dashwood is the eldest sister of the family she falls for Edward but knows she can’t be with him because of her new social status, she also looks after the younger sisters. Marianne is the middle sister and the one easily led astray by her heart never being able to hide her feelings when it comes to love. Edward Ferrars is the kind quiet brother of Fanny who wants nothing more than a life away from the high society. Colonel Brandon is a middle-aged bachelor that has lived with a broken heart but does take a shine to Marianne, he does what he can to support her through her own heart break even if he has his own desire to marry her.

Performance wise, Emma Thompson is brilliant in the leading role as well as her work on the screenplay which won her an Oscar. Kate Winslet burst onto the scene with this role which has firmly put her into the minds of any film fan now. Hugh Grant is great through his supporting role and Alan Rickman shows he had the class to perform in any film role. We do have a good supporting cast of well-known British actors too that all perform well.

StoryThis is a Jane Austin novel, so let’s face it, I will never have read the novel in the first place, I am not the biggest fan of this era movies because I find the high society annoying to see how people used to act for money rather than love. Saying this I did enjoy watching the story unfold I found it showed just how frustrating the era in British history was and is one that can be respected by all film fans. We do have love, heartbreak and money but it also spends plenty of time watching over how things could be considered farfetched.

RomanceWe get to see the swings and roundabouts of love through the romance side of the story here but mostly focusing on potential heartbreak and lost love.

SettingsEach setting brings us into the time era perfectly making everything come off flawless throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t a film I would be re-visiting but it is one I can say is wonderfully made, written and performed throughout.

 

Overall: Brilliant period drama of a classic novel.

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