Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is an epic, historical, martial arts romance. Yes, it is all of those things, and completely subtitled as well! Are you excited yet? You should be, this is a glorious film that you will be hard pressed to top in the martial arts genre. It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 2000 and won 4.
I saw this film in the theater, owned it on DVD, and have finally picked it up on blu-ray. It is an amazing film from top to bottom. The fight scenes in this film are some of the best ever put to film. While some people have a problem with the ‘flying’, I think it fits beautifully in the film, lending it an artistic quality that goes well with the poetry of the dialogue.
The performances are simply astounding. The pent up longing of the main characters, played by Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh, is front and center as Fat’s character gives up his warrior way to settle down with his old friend, Michelle Yeoh’s character. When his sword is stolen, they are both pulled back into the warrior’s lifestyle to track down the thief and avenge Fat’s master’s murder.
That is a very simplified version of the story. There are more subplots going on, but to tell more would ruin the story for the one person out there who hasn’t seen this. If that is YOU, get to the store and pick this up or rent it or Netflix it or whatever. See it. It is a poem put to film. Beautiful and heartbreaking.
The video here is passable, but it is not a great hi def transfer. There are moments where the image breaks up a bit in the action scenes, and some of the scenes look like there is a thin fog over it. It is not a deal breaker for the film, but I would like to see a deep cleanup of the film and a restoration of the gorgeous cinematography.
The audio is also passable. It is not a huge action film, and it is an historical film so the audio is subtle and subdued. It will not give your surround sound system a workout, though.
The special features are recycled from the DVD version of the film, and are in standard def so they look absolutely horrible on a high def tv.
Overall, for the price, you can’t go wrong with this movie. I would like to see a big blu-ray release of this with a better transfer and more special features as would befit a film of this quality. Until that day, this is what we have and it is worth it for the beautiful film.
Movie **** out of ****
Blu-Ray * out of ****