Chow Yun-Fat is Master Li Mu Bai, Michelle Yeoh is Yu Shu Lien. Two hardened martial arts masters in love but kept apart by honor and tradition. This is hardly a kung-fu movie and more a love story. Li Mu Bai is ready to give up his adventurous lifestyle and entrust Yu Shu Lien to deliver the powerful Green Destiny sword to Sir Te. Upon delivering the sword Yu Shu Lien meets Jen who has live a privileged life and longs for the adventurous life. Her nanny is Jade Fox in disguise, the murderer of Li Mu Bai’s master. She plots to steal the Green Destiny.
When Li Mu Bai faces off with Jade Fox and mysterious character comes and steals the sword. It turns out to be Jen who has been under Jade Fox’s tutelage. Li Mu Bai recognizes that Jen has surpassed Jade Fox in Skill and tries to convince her to become his student. We meet Lo who is in love with Jen but cannot be with her because he is a petty thief and she is an aristocrat’s daughter. It’s interesting that Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien are so obviously in love but will not allow themselves to be together, but the try to help Lo win Jen.
The theme of forbidden love is in all of Ang Lee’s films to recall a few in Brokeback Mountain and to a lesser degree in Hulk. Yu Shu Yen was to be married to Li Mu Bai’s good friend who is dead by the time the story takes place. Out of respect for him they both seem to have a silent agreement not to give into their obvious attraction. It makes me wonder if the dead fiancé would really want such misery for two people he cared about in life. I don’t think so. I think somewhere he is very disappointed that these two would let something like tradition stand in their way of happiness. They even seems to realize this on some level which is way they have such an interest in seeing Lo and Jen together.
This is a good date movie. It has love and fighting, great scenery, swords, and a bit of mystery for good measure. It has something for both genders. The fights are amazing if a bit exaggerated. But they are not really the focus of this story. Forbidden love is the main character in this tale. These characters belong together and for all purposes they are together. But they won’t admit to their love and that’s sad because the love is there but it is suppressed by these so called masters. This is a good movie, even if you’re only interest is in the beautifully choreographed fight scenes. The entire production is incredible to say the least, the acting, the choreography, and the photography is all well done. There’s beautiful scenery that looks gorgeous. I feel those that once fell in love with the film will not be disappointed with this second high definition release.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 2.40:1. This new release by Sony is almost identical to the previously released version by Buena Vista that bundled it with other two (2) martial arts films. The film looks intentionally dull, but colors remain natural. It does affect an immediate pop as far as vibrancy, but the image looks excellent. Black levels are inky and well reproduced throughout the film. Flesh tones are spot on and looking very natural. Fine details are very good as they make the most intricate textures become apparent. There are a few scenes that look soft, but the film remains very good looking. There is a medium layer of grain that tends to get thicker in several scenes in the film, but it’s never an eye sore. Overall, Sony has done a marvelous job with this release.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon arrives on Blu-ray with 3 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio lossless tracks that include English, Mandarin, and French. The dialogue is clean and crisp throughout and it never becomes overwhelmed through the heavy action sequences found in the film. The rears aren’t exactly used much during the first part of the film, but during the second part when the action begins to pick up there’s a good amount of activity. Atmospherics and ambiance effects are heard clearly putting the viewer right in the middle of the action. The bass is not as consistent as I’d like it to be, but during the fighting sequences it help the hitting of the swords and providing small force to make the film enjoyable. Overall, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sounds good on Blu-ray.
This re-release of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon includes all the previous extras found on the three pack release of the film. This time around Sony has included a brand new audio commentary. Check below for a breakdown of each supplement.
Audio Commentary – This features Director Ang Lee and Producer James Schamus. This conversation deals with several different topics that include the score, the wardrobe, stunts, and much more. The track is very informative and thanks to the comic relief of the speakers it becomes very entertaining.
Audio Commentary – This features Peter Pau and he delves into several different pieces relating to this work and the production. Pau talks about the different techniques used during filming, the digital effects, shooting the various action sequences, and more. This is very informative and great commentary piece, I highly recommend it. This piece is new and not found on the previous release.
A Conversation with Michelle Yeoh – The actress talks about various subjects dealing with the film that includes her character, theme of the film, and more.
Unleashing The Dragon – This features the actors speaking about the film about various different topics that include their roles, themes, the score, the training undergone for the film, and more.
Photo Gallery – The photo gallery is accompanied by the score of the film.
Trailers – Movie trailers featuring The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, House of Flying Daggers, The Curse of the Golden Flower, Not the Messiah, The Young Victoria, Nine, and The Karate Kid.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon features some incredible stunts, story, photography, and much more that make this an instant classic. It’s apparent when the chemistry among its cast make stellar performances across the board that lead to great production. The film will be remembered for its superb stunt work and beautiful imagery. The Blu-ray features a good video and audio transfer. The supplements have been slightly upgraded with the inclusion of the second commentary piece which is well worth the double dip. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is highly recommended.