Director: Ang Lee
Original Release: 2000
Choice: My Wife's
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
The story is based on the fourth of a series of five novels known in China as the Crane Iron Pentalogy by Wang Dulu. The books have never been translated to English but apparently the first book, Crane Frightens Kunlun, is currently in progress. The narrative is strong but the magic of the film is in the visual presentation. The film's scenery is stunning. Peter Pau won an Oscar for Cinematography as did Timmy Yip for Art Direction. Every fight scene is mesmerizing, often greatly enhanced by special effects.
It's a great Girl Power movie. All of the women hold their own in both martial arts and fencing, especially Jen Yu, portrayed by Ziyi Zhang. In one scene, she lays an entire restaurant to waste. Her duel with Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-fat) atop a bamboo forest is particularly memorable.
Composer Tan Dun won an Oscar, a Grammy and a BAFTA for the film's score. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma features prominently as a soloist. More recently, Dun composed music for the medal ceremonies at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
My Rating System:
5 = The best of the best. These are the films by which I judge other films.
4 = High quality films which I feel could hold up well in repeated viewings.
3 = The vast majority of films. They're fine. Once was enough.
2 = I wasn't even sure I wanted to finish it. It's not a 1 because I'm not prepared to say it's a terrible film - just not my cup of tea.
1 = A terrible film. An insult to the art form.