Wo hu cang long [Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon] (2000)

(In theaters, December 2000) It was about time that someone married good drama with cool action scenes, and it took a director clearly more renowned for drama (Ang Lee: Sense And Sensibility, The Ice Storm) than action to do it. The result is an impressive blend of classical tragedy and modern imagery, where the plot is almost as interesting as the fights and the actors seem to switch effortlessly from one mode to the other. Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat turn in some of the best performances of their career, with impressive screen presences and convincing physical ability. The action scenes are impressive to behold and will warrant another viewing. Only the script isn’t as good as it might have been, with serious structural problems (there’s a twenty-minute flashback in the middle of the film that just kills all pacing) and a disappointing ending. But even with these flaws, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon stands on its own as one of 2000’s best films, a deliciously impressive experience that will manage to delights such diverse crowds as action junkies, feminists, art-house audiences and popcorn crowds.

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