Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1/2

In many ways, the Oriental martial arts films are similar to American westerns. Many are B-grade products while a few become cinema classics. In this sweeping classic, Chow Yun-Fat who played the King in ANNA AND THE KING, plays a legendary warrior, Li Mu-Bai, who has decided to hang up his sword, a 400-year-old blade known as Green Destiny. He entrusts the blade to Shu-Lien (Michelle Yeoh), a long-time friend who now runs her fathers security business. But as Shu-Lien delivers the sword to safekeeping in the home of an elderly leader in Beijing, she encounters Jen (Zhang Ziyi), the daughter of the new governor. Unhappy about her upcoming arranged marriage, Jen seeks the excitement of Shu-Lien's warrior life. The Green Destiny is stolen and the theft attributed to Jade Fox (Cheng Pei Pei), a woman also wanted for poisoning Lis martial arts master. Now Li and Shu-Lien must retrieve his weapon and bring the murderer to justice. And Jen comes up with some surprises of her own for Shu Lien. Filmed with English subtitles, audiences will enjoy the beautiful vistas and ballet-like choreography of a martial arts fight in the tops of bamboo trees.

Li embodies the nobility of a heroic warrior, but also carries the weariness of too many battles. He also tells of a long time but unexpressed love for Shu Lien. On the other hand, Jen chases a desert thief for attacking her caravan, but falls in love with the honorable bandit. Their implied premarital sex is portrayed as acceptable. The subjugated role of women in the Chinese society is also addressed as Jade Fox says she was good enough to sleep with but not to teach. She teaches Jen moves from a stolen martial arts manual. But unlike Jade Fox, Jen can read the philosophy written in the manual and learns about the honor code of warriors. Shu Lien tells Jen that although she doesnt want her arranged marriage, she must honor her parents. There are plenty of martial arts fights with various weapons, along with gravity-defying feats. Most wounds are slight or bloodless, although one man is shown with a blade in his forehead. No offensive language is noted in the sub-titles, but a positive portrayal of premarital sex requires a slightly negative rating for CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Sony Pictures Classics, 550 Madison Ave., 8th Flr, New York, NY 10022

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (2) times - other

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (martial arts fights with various weapons, man has blade stuck in forehead, bloody wound, stab with pen, needle stuck in neck)

Sex: Implied few times (unmarried couple on ground, in bath, in bed)

Nudity: Near nudity - few times (woman in bath, couple in bath, wet blouse)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (woman says slept with teacher, sensual kisses, man tells woman if wanted to - would already done it, man with hand in woman's pants/ caress clothed breast)

Drugs: Few times - wine drinking, woman drugged

Other: Woman rebels against arranged marriage, honor and rules upheld, woman rebels against society status, woman prays at home shirine, references to meditation visions and heaven, comment about repressed emotions grow stronger, suicide implied

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and adults

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