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Sika’s 100 Greatest Movies of All Time! 77. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000)

August 5, 2011

77. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon [DVD] aka Wo hu cang long

Plot: Warrior Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat) intends to retire and surrenders his weapon; a legendary sword called The Green Destiny to Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh), a woman he secretly loves. Li wants Shu Lien to travel to Peking and give the sword to the revered Sir Te (Sihung Lung) while he himself heads for the Wudan mountain to honor his master, who was poisoned to death by the feared villain Jade Fox (Pei-pei Cheng).

When the sword is stolen, Li Mu Bai’s retirement is put on hold.
Also Starring: Ziyi ZhangFa Zeng LiXian GaoChen Chang

Genre: Action/Drama/Romance
Directed by: Ang Lee
Length: 120 min
Budget: $15,000,000 (estimated)
Gross Revenue: $128,067,808 (USA)

Favorite Quote:
Sir Te: A sword by itself rules nothing. It only comes alive in skilled hands.

Review: This movie is known for a lot of things, not only is it the first foreign language film to earn over $100 million in the United States, it has also originated a bunch of funny alternative porn movie titles.

And even though it’s directed by Ang Lee, who I have a beef with since he in my opinion ruined the second coming of The Incredible Hulk in 2003, I have swallowed my pride and allowed this; his most wonderful piece of cinema onto this list. But I have to give him props for versatility; switching from directing Hugh Grant in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensiblity to a raging CGI-Hulk to gay cowboys is no mean feat.

Nerdiest Movie Trivia: Jet Li was originally cast to play Li Mu Bai, but turned the part down to appear in Romeo Must Die. The role was next offered to Hong Kong singer/actor Leon Lai but he, too, turned it down.

Every time I see this movie I am amazed by how good it is on so many levels.

It has wonderful cinematography, great actors who I recognize even though they’re asian and none of them are Jackie Chan.

It also has one of the best scores ever made (I even bought the soundtrack!!) and a shitload of jumping and fighting in trees and scaling walls and stuff that just blows my mind.

Oscar Count:
4 Wins: Best Foreign Language Film (Ang Lee) Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Timmy Yip) Best Cinematography (Peter Pau) Best Music, Original Score (Tan Dun)
6 Nominations: Best Picture (William Kong, Li-Kong Hsu, Ang Lee) Best Director (Ang Lee) Best Film Editing (Tim Squyres) Best Costume Design (Timmy Yip) Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published (Hui-Ling Wang, James Schamus, Kuo Jung Tsai)

And even though my Asian movie knowledge doesn’t stretch further than a bunch of Jackie Chan movies I believe this is the best they’ve ever done. I tried watching Infernal Affairs (Mou gaan dou) but had trouble separating the characters since they all looked alike.

In my defense I had the same trouble with the American remake The Departed

PREVIOUS ON THE LIST: 78. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)


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