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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Tiger and Dragon

Taiwan/Hong Kong/China/USA 2000
produced by
Ang Lee, Hsu Li-Komg, William Kong for China Film Co-Production Corp, EDKO, Asia Union Film and Entertainment, United China Vision, Zoom Hunt, Good Machine, Sony, Columbia
directed by Ang Lee
starring Zhang Ziyi, Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Chang Chen, Cheng Pei-Pei, Lung Sihung, Li Fa Zeng, Gao Xian, Hai Yan, Wang De Ming, Lily Li, Huang Su Ying, Zhang Yin Ting, Yang Rei, Li Kai, Feng Jian Hua
screenplay by Wang Hui-Ling, James Schamus, Tsai Kuo Jung, based on a book by Wang Du Lung, action direction by Yuen Woo-Ping

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Swordsmaster Li (Chow Yun-Fat) comes back from meditating, but his experience has left him remarkably empty, so he decides to give up his life as swordsman (even if he still has to avenge the death of his master) & give away his famed Green Destiny Sword to Sir Te (Lung Sihung), & asks his friend Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) to deliver it ... of course Li & Shu Lien are secretly in love, but since they are both reknowned heroes of the martial arts world they are unable to consume their love.

Once Shu Lien has delivered the sword though, it is stolen, & all the clues lead to the mansion of the Yu family ... but little does anyone know that the sword was actually stolen by 18-year old Jen (Zhang Ziyi), who is about to be married of to some government official she doesn't even know & who has secretly been trained in martial arts by Jade Fox (Cheng Pei-Pei), who has posed as her gouverness, but is really the woman who has killed Li's master.

However, Li as well as police officer Tsai (Wang De Ming), who has been on her trail for years, soon suspect that Jade Fox is somehow involved with the Yu family & decide to lure her out ... which does even work, but they are rather surprised when Jen suddenly shows up (in disguise), fights side by side with Jade Fox, & ultimately the 2 escape, with Jade Fox even killing officer Tsai ...

But how come Jen is so fascinated by the life of wandering swordsman & the romance she thinks it might hold ?

About a year back, when she was crossing the desert with an entourage (she is an aristocrat after all), her treck was held up by a gang of bandits, & she was kidnapped by their leader Lo, the Dark Cloud (Chang Chen). Soon though, the two of them became lovers, & only had to part when her parents' soldiers were getting too close for comfort & they wanted to avoid confrontation ...

Now though Master Li & Shu Lien want to use Jen (& her upcoming wedding) as bait for Jade Fox ... but rather unexpectedly theceremony is disturbed by Lo, who just can't let her get married. Li & Shu Lien manage to get Lo out of the picture before he can cause a big embarassement & tell him to wait for Jen in the monastery of Wudan, but then, all of a sudden, Jen is gone, as she has decided to leave her life (& husband-to-be) behind her for a life of adventure ... & she causes havoc everywhere she goes, like taking apart restaurants & defeating & humiliating every swordsman in sight ...

Ultimately she even fights (& defeats) Shu Lien, who has always been a friend to her & even defended her although she has found out that Jen has stolen the Green Destiny Sword early on. Only Master Li seemst o be her match, & she only escapes him, when Jade Fox pretty much snatches her in mid ight, to use her as lure for Li.

In the showdown, Li can ultimately kill Jade Fox, but is hit by one of her poisoned needles - which Jade Fox actually meant for Jen, who has held some valuable information from a martial arts manual back from her, an iliterate - which Jade Fox felt to be the ultimate treachery.

Now Jen, having finally seen Jade Fox' true face, changes allegiances & offers to save Li, whom she had tried to kill only minutes ago ... But she doesn't manage to produce the antidote in time, & Li has to die.

In anger, Shu Lien wants to kill Jen, but when Jen offers no resistance, she instead lets her go to Wudan to be with her lover Lo, a fate that Shu Lien has always been denied ...

After martial arts movies from Asia have been detesed, ridiculed, spat on by mainstream & arthouse audiences for years, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon would be the film that would change all that, aminly because with Ang Lee, it did have a director of quite some reputation in the West, among the arthouse crowd at least, with Chow Yun-Fat & Michelle Yeoh it had 2 lead actors who had been in Hollywood-movies (Replacement Killers & Tomorrow Never Dies, respectively), & it had the American major studio Columbia behind it ... yet on a story level, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has remarkably little new or original to offer, nothing that hadn't been genre-mainstay since at least the 1970's, which is even reflected in the fact that Jade Fox actress Cheng Pei-Pei has been one of the leading martial arts-actresses of the late 1960's/early 1970's (e.g. Come Drink with Me, The Shadow Whip). Furthermore it has its fair share of lengthy & cheesy scenes.

The film''s saving graces though are the extraordinary action choreography by Yuen Woo Ping, who, despite having been in the business for a good quarter of a century, still went out of his way (& continues to do so) to create something original, never-before-seen, & then there's of course Zhang Ziyi, by then still at the beginning of her career, who is equally graceful in action & acting scenes, & who simply dominates every scene she's in to a point where you can safely forget the rest of the movie & still love the ride ...


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD