Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016)

Sorry I’m late but I was working on school things! I see quite a few of you checked in last night and discovered that I did not post anything. SORRY!

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016)
 Dir. Woo-Ping Yuen
 Writ. John Fusco
 Stars: Michelle Yeoh, Donnie Yen, Natasha Liu Bordizzo
 Rated PG-13
 96 mins.
 Action, Wuxia
 IMDB 6.5

To begin with, I actually didn’t hear about this movie at all until it became available on Netflix and a few people tweeted about it.

I absolutely love Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and I’m not even that big of a fan of Wuxia. So, when I saw this I immediately had to watch it! I had heard a few people mention that it wasn’t that great of a movie, but I went into it from the point of view of, “It’s been a crazy long time, there was no need for this, this is just a little treat for us, like extra fries in the bottom of the bag when you thought they were all gone for sure.”

Because of that, with my low expectations, I was actually PLEASANTLY surprised because this was actually quite good. I actually really did like this movie.

So, with that little bit said, let’s begin!

The movie starts with the amazing, wonderful, absolutely beautiful Michelle Yeoh reprising her role as Yu Shu Lien and we see that she is still, in her fifties, just as amazing as ever. I adore Michelle Yeoh, as you can probably tell. It is discovered the sword, Green Destiny, is at risk and, should it fall into the wrong hands, of course, the bad guys will win and all honor left in the world will be lost. On her way to mourn an old friend’s passing, Shu Lien is attacked by the agents of Hades Dai (Jason Scott Lee) and one of them, a young boy, shows his face to her before he flees (of course she kicked their asses, she’s Shu Lien!). Later, at the hall of her fallen friend, of course, Green Destiny comes under threat of theft and, sure enough, the young boy, Tiefang (Harry Shum Jr.) is captured after a fight with a young girl, Snow Vase ( Natasha Liu Bordizzo). After this attempted robbery, word is sent that they need men to protect the sword and, seeing an advert on a wall, Silent Wolf (Donnie Yen), Shu Lien’s thought-to-be-dead betrothed from her youth, gathers a small band of warriors and returns from the grave to help protect Green Destiny.

Admittedly, there are flaws in the film, of course. Shu Lien and Silent Wolf’s ‘long lost love’ narrative is pretty much restricted to a few sentences and a single real interaction, which is sad because what little of it there is is very emotional, and of course, the fact it was filmed in English and dubbed in Mandarin, not the other way around, is very strange (no doubt an attempt to make it more marketable since it is such a small, low budget film). There is also the fact that, even though it IS a good film in my opinion, it could’ve been marketed as “another Crane-Iron film” rather than sequel to Ang Lee’s eternally famous Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, since it is, of course, a definite step down from that one.

HOWEVER, if you don’t compare it to Ang Lee’s award winner, this really is a pretty good film!

Without spoilers, I especially loved the story that was revealed about the real connection between Snow Vase and Tiefang. Though I’ve seen others kinda go ‘meh’ about both performances, I really enjoyed both Natasha Liu Bordizzo’s performance as Snow Vase and Harry Shum Jr.’s performance as Tiefang. I’m not really familiar with either actor (I very recently became aware of Harry Shum Jr. but I’ve only seen a tiny bit of him on screen so I don’t have much of a read on him), and I was pretty impressed. Snow Vase in particular was a favorite of mine. Bordizzo’s performance was really impressive when you finally realized why she is the way she is. Her revealing to Tiefang the truth actually brought me nearly to tears.

I think that, if you try and look at it as ‘compared to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon of course you will have a disappointment on your hands, but if you go into it just looking for a little extra taste of Shu Lien’s story OR, if you perhaps don’t know the original, since it is totally watchable on it’s own without any problems, as just another wuxia film, I think you’ll enjoy it.

My Rating: 7/10

 
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About J. Chelsea Williford

Student at Middle Georgia State University, writer, pop culture lover.
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