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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was in some ways a formative movie for me. I had never seen any wuxia before (closest I got was Rumble in the Bronx and other chop-socky movies), but I knew when I saw in that I was seeing something that had an established genre. I just wasn't privy to it, so there would be bits I was missing. And yet the beautiful parts of the movie - Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien obviously struggling with their love for each other, Jen and Lo doing the same thing but being younger and stupider about it, Jen's knee-jerk defiance of every attempt to show her love and direction, and, of course, the fucking badass fight scenes, meant that didn't matter.

I remember, though, back in 2000 when the movie came out (12 years ago?! Jesus, how did that happen?), the folks around me in the theater in Atlanta talking about this weird movie about "flying Chinese people?" And I got the sense that while maybe I didn't get it, they really didn't get it.

I dunno. So, if you haven't seen it: Chow Yun Fat is Li Mu Bai, a badass warrior, Michelle Yeoh is Shu Lien, his partner in arms and the object of his unrequited love. Zhang Ziyi is Jen, a young nobleman's daughter who's being trained by Jade Fox, a criminal posing as a governess, who just happened to have killed Li's mentor. Oh, and Jen was once kidnapped by a desert marauder, with whom she fell in love, but then left him to go back to her family while he tried to become respectable enough to actually marry her, like, above-board.

The movie is a tragedy, actually. Jen's tragic flaw is that she spits in the face of everyone who tries to help her - Li, Shu Lien, Jade Fox, Lo, etc. Li Mu Bai doesn't know when to leave well enough alone, and keeps pursuing Jade Fox when what he really wants (Shu Lien) is right in front of him. At the end, he chooses to spend his last breath confessing his love for Jen, and Jen chooses to throw herself from a mountain in an act of sacrifice and contrition (at least that's how I read it, but I admit there are nuances I'm not getting, not being Chinese and all).

The movie is beautiful, the fighting is amazing, and Ang Lee has a serious issue with the color green. This was the first real exposure US audiences had to Zhang Ziyi, and she's gone on to show up in some really inappropriate places (Memoirs of a Geisha, for instance), but she's pretty badass in general.

I always think this movie is longer than it is, largely because of the flashback sequence in the middle that stretches it out. But it's really only about 2 hours, and it's a damned good story.

I refuse, however, to watch the dubbed version, so I always have to remember to turn the subtitles on.

My Grade: A
Rewatch Value: Medium-high

Next up: The Crow



I'm not weighing in today, because I suspect it would depress me. Instead I shall count points and exercise this week, and try and lose these last 20 pounds or so by Origins.

Points:
Rolls: 4
Ham: 4
Cheese: 1
Chips: 3
Pasta: 3
Tuna: 2
Cheese sauce: 4
Peep: 1
Butter: 2

Total: 24
Banked: 0

Date: 2012-04-10 11:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrteufel.livejournal.com
The main message I took from that movie is 1d4 damage never killed anyone!

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