Saturday, 13 June 2009

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

I always find it hard to review films that have had little impact on me. This, unfortunately, is one of them.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragons is visually outstanding and the soundtrack is evocative and perfect for the piece. One thing that I did straight away on starting this DVD was take the dubbing off and watch it in the subtitled Mandarin. I obviously cant speak Mandarin but think that the dubbing of ANY film other then one for kids is an insult to the actors and wrecks the performance. With this in mind the acting and performances were also superb.PDVD_040 So what went wrong for me?

I wouldn’t go so far as to say something went wrong but rather that I couldn’t see what the shine really was with this film. Yes it did look fantastic but the oft quoted flying scenes were far from convincing to me and instead looked more like people flailing on a wire like out of work Peter Pans. This isn’t surprising because that's exactly what happened. The more traditional fight scenes were far better in my book as I could believe more that they were possible and any effects were far less obvious. Another killer for me was the presence of the pivotal “Green Destiny” sword. A sword so wonderful it could cut through other swords. Kind of pointless fighting it really? Its like getting the unbeatable card in a badly designed game of Top Trumps.

To its credit the film managed to have fairly long political and wordy sections and for a film that I had to read these on it never lagged in any way. However the Stockholm syndrome scenes in the Desert were another matter, bringing the film almost to a juddering halt.

Overall CTHD didn’t ring my bells. Let down by the impressive but obvious wire work it failed to have the impact that I expect from martial arts. However it did pleasantly pass a couple of hours of my time and, as I watched it in Mandarin, I can also feel like a had a cultural experience in the bargain.PDVD_057

Paul Out…and flying gracefully through the trees (until my wire tangles)

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