I’ve looked at the Hit Me with Your Best Shot project as kind of a book club for movies. Just like in a book club you get to see what other people think and gain from their perspective. You also sometimes love or just like the books assigned and sometimes you don’t like them at all.
Well, this weeks selection is I’m afraid the latter, a movie I don’t care for called Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I know many love it and it was nominated for many awards, but I don’t like it (which makes picking a favorite shot rather difficult). If I made a list of ‘top 10 overrated movies’ this would definitely make that list.
My main flaw with the movie?- I don’t like the flying!
The whole appeal of martial arts movies is that the fighter has the potential to kill his or her opponents with their body. They do not need any assistance or super powers to get the job done.
You watch some of the old Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan movies they completely dominate their opponent from start to finish. Maybe they had nunchucks or a pole but the power was always from their own body. I’m aware some of these kung-fu movies can be over the top in their execution of the stunts and it end up looking ridiculous but it is always meant to appear like one man fighting with just his body.
That’s where we get into problems with Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. By making the characters mystical and capable of flight it takes away all the tension and excitement because the vulnerability is gone. They can fly away like Superman and walk on walls like Spiderman.Seems pretty invincible (and predictable) to me.
Most of the time the fights seem to end without any real victor because the loosing player can just fly away. This is way less satisfying than a bloodied up opponent after facing Bruce Lee in a fight. It makes the fight scenes feel very boring because it is so obviously choreographed and our heroes aren’t really going to get hurt. Again if you can fly away how bad can things really get in a fight?
The problem is these flying fight scenes are most of the movie, so my not liking them means I don’t really like the movie. I think it is boring and I don’t think the special effects have held up very well. They look kind of corny to me.
The main story is about 2 women Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) and Jen (Zhang Ziyi) as they try to protect a sword for Mu Bai (Chow Yun-fat). They have various romantic adventures along the way and lots of flying fights. That’s about it.
Some of the cinematography is nice and the performers are all gifted (how I wish we could have just left the Peter Pan antics and let them fight!). But probably the part of the movie I like the best is that it has 2 strong female leads that are the main protagonists of the story. These women are as formidable as any men if not more so and for a martial arts movie that is very cool (some of the Jackie Chan movies are particularly misogynistic).
So for me the best shot of the movie is when Jen and Shu Lien are fighting at the beginning and when they stay on the ground the movements are almost too fast to get a good screenshot of. Nevertheless, this is the one I came up with. It is pretty amazing and certainly way more impressive than any flying.