Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Cheng Pei-pei, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Xian Gao, Chang Chen
The moment anyone sees someone who remotely looks like a China man, the words 'Kung Fu' or 'martial arts' quickly appears in ones mind. That also applies to movies which feature many such characters. Li Mu Bai (Yun-Fat) is an accomplished Wudang swordsman, feared throughout the lands and is unbeatable. Li Mu Bai intends to give up being a warrior and asks his friend and secret love, Yu Shie Lien (Yeoh) to deliver his sword, The Green Destiny, as a gift to a friend of his. The sword is more than 400 years old with a blade unmatched in sharpness and can make any warrior extremely agile. Jen (Ziyi) an aristocrats daughter has been secretly learning how to fight from her governess who goes by the name of Jade Fox (Pei-pei). Fox, being illiterate, could not read the secret manuals of Wudang to become a true warrior but those teachings were absorbed by Jen who could read but never shared her learning's with her master. Jen steals The Green Destiny to escape from her family burden of marriage and become a free warrior. Li Mu Bai is impressed with Jen's swordsmanship and desires to train her provided she return the sword, something that Jen is not willing to part with. The movie has enough action and more than enough Kung Fu, but what doesn't seem pleasing is the slightly over-the-top action sequences that seem inhuman to perform. Jumping metres into the air on top of houses, walking on water and hoping over tree tops, it all seems to far fetched and unbelievable. The movie seems to end without any purpose or objective and appears to be extremely aimless. Its entire mid-section is unwanted and is simply present to infuse the angle of Jen's love and could have easily been ignored or cut short. If its Kung Fu action sequences that you seek then this movie prescribes just what you want, otherwise it is pretty much a washout.
Thumbs up: Good action sequences, in number and quality (barring the human flying)
Thumbs down: Unwanted side stories, aimless plot development