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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

A rich, romantic take on the wuxia, China's heroic swordsman genre, from the eclectic Ang Lee. The first ten minutes or so offer dense exposition, introducing the legendary and righteous swordsman Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat), his esteemed partner Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) and the wilful young aristocrat Jen (Zhang Ziyi), who enjoys a double life as a thief under the malign tutelage of her governess (Cheng Pei-Pei). They clash over the Green Destiny, a priceless sword which Jen steals as a mark of defiance. Yu gives chase in a brilliantly modulated set-piece across the roof-tops, the women defying gravity in exhilarating leaps and bounds. Once it takes flight the movie never touches the ground, spinning myriad duels of the body and spirit.

Ang Lee has always been a director of finesse and fine feeling, but his touch is just as deft even as he extends his grasp to reveal the breathtaking vistas of mythic China, then relaxes enough to stage the demolition of a tavern with slapstick aplomb. Inventively choreographed by Yeun Wo-Ping - of The Matrix fame - the film imbues every look, every gesture with resonance and grace. Sexy and sublime, it's a feast for the senses and 100 per cent sheer cinema.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Duration: 120 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ang Lee
Screenwriter: Wang Hui-Ling, Tsai Kuo-Jung, James Schamus
Cast: Chang Chen
Lung Sihung
Michelle Yeoh
Zhang Ziyi
Cheng Pei-Pei
Chow Yun-Fat

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
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Will Rothery

I loved the film. Since when has it not amused an Englishman to watch the Chinese kill each other over something as trivial as tempered steel? My favourite part is where he dies and she's in emotional agony, it's like torture - and as a serious fetish addict, nothing turns me on as much as pain. Hell, me and Max finished off a whole box of condoms thanks to this film. Full stars for arousal, hardcore fetishisms and the evident oriental feeling which made me hard as a prawn cracker!

Will Rothery

I loved the film. Since when has it not amused an Englishman to watch the Chinese kill each other over something as trivial as tempered steel? My favourite part is where he dies and she's in emotional agony, it's like torture - and as a serious fetish addict, nothing turns me on as much as pain. Hell, me and Max finished off a whole box of condoms thanks to this film. Full stars for arousal, hardcore fetishisms and the evident oriental feeling which made me hard as a prawn cracker!