Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

A sword by itself rules nothing. It only comes alive in skilled hands.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * * )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )

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Michelle Yeoh) is very deep even with the losses in the translation. There are some scenes of real emotional power that probably a lot will miss, but match my favorite scene in Good Will Hunting where Will walks out on Skylar after she asks him to move to California. My only problem with this movie is that I know a lot is getting lost in any translation I see or hear. I watched the movie with both and English dub an in the original Chinese with English subtitles and could tell that a lot was getting lost both times. Neither solution is really good. On the one hand, you get the emotional feeling of their voices, but at the sacrifice of having to read instead of watching the characters. On the other, you lose the nuances of the voice along with any actual locational effects on the voice track (echos, reverb, etc). Frankly, the only way to really get it is to learn Chinese, even a step I am not willing to take to get the directors true intent. Still, there is so much depth to the characters and such a marvelous story that you will still get a lot of it. I will warn that if you walk in with any piece of you not willing to accept it, you will hate it. Two people I talked to in particular wished the story was a lot longer. There are a couple of sub plots that I personally consider very entertaining, but some may not. If you are either too much or not enough of a kung-fu fan, you might not enjoy this one. If you just relax and let it sink in, you will love it.

The DVD was an import from Hong Kong (not a bootleg mind you). Given my recent purchase of a region free DVD player, I was able to watch this movie in the comfort of my own home while the masses had to walk through sticky goo and wonder why that bitch in the back row won't shut up. The DVD had two Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks in both Chinese and English. There is a directors commentary (in english) as well as some other extended material. The picture is a 2.35 to 1 16x9 enhanced transfer that holds up very well with the wonderful cinematography. It was worth the cost of both the DVD and the player itself.

Crouching Tiger is another perfect example of the fact that not always are the best movies made in the States. Movies like Leon, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and now this really show that even if our whole entertainment industry turns into Reindeer Games or the Jerry Bruckheimer, Gone in 60 Seconds, we will still have some good movies to watch.