On Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon:
“One of the few critics to break ranks was Amy Taubin in the Village Voice, who, unlike her contemporaries, came to the film well versed in Hong Kong cinema, and she found the movie wanting.
‘A rare blend of low and high art, Wong Kar-Wai’s Ashes of Time radicalises the genre’s visual and narrative disjunction to the point of abstraction. Studiously middle-brow, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon takes the opposite tack. Rather than leaping about in time, the story meanders along a linear route, plugging up gaps with character psychology and set decoration. But even on its own terms… the film is unsuccessful. Crouching Tiger’s dramatic line is so blurry that the central character is only a bystander to the climactic fight between the forces of good and evil.’
Much of the praise given to the film reflects the critics’ unfamiliarity with Hong Kong cinema, for Lee’s film is formulaic to the point of redundancy. The movie’s relatively poor performance at the Hong Kong box office, where it was not in the top ten grossing films of the year, indicates that Hong Kong audiences found little in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to be excited about. They had seen it all before. Far from being ‘one of a kind’ as Roger Ebert claimed, the film follows the established pattern for any period New Wave production and owes much to King Hu’s Come Drink With Me, made thirty five years earlier.” David West, Chasing Dragons: An Introduction to the Martial Arts Film, p. 196-197
Although it was a gorgeous looking thing (due to wonderful art direction and Yuen Wu Ping’s masterful choreography), I have always found Crouching Tiger to be a glum and dreary film despite the best efforts of its stellar cast.
I am porgressing well with my blogs about the action in My Father is a Hero. Yesterday I posted a blog discussing the final fight scenes. I will have more blogs to post, hopefully this coming weekend.