A story of lost love, young love, a legendary sword and one last opportunity at redemption.
Still mourning the death of Li Mu Bai, Yu Shu Lien returns to safeguard his sword, "The Green Destiny." Hades Dai, an underground warlord, sends his lieutenants to steal the sword , with plans to dominate the martial arts world. A young mysterious swordswoman and the hero with a past, Silent Wolf , come to Shu Lien's aid, together with a disparate band of warriors who still believe in the iron way of honor.
Cast & Credits
The next most important part: if you really loved the original movie, you should probably stay away from this. They're nothing alike.
The original Crouching Tiger was an absolutely beautiful and sincere film, a movie that had important things to say while the action choreography was simply the dessert course of the experience. On top of that, everything about it worked: the performances of the actors, the script, the music, the cinematography, the costumes, the locations, and of course the action choreography were all unimpeachable. One of the cinematic masterpieces of our time.
Unfortunately, as you might have guessed, none of that can be said about the sequel. What's really sad was that it had potential, and you can see it during the first third of the film. Some of the character and plot ideas they have, specifically in building Yeoh's legendary Shu Lien and using the Green Destiny sword as the center of the conflict, are actually good. And the execution is there for the first 30 or 40 minutes. But after that, the film completely loses the plot (literally). It just devolves into a bunch of meaningless nonsense, filled with mediocre-to-good martial arts choreography (punctuated by one truly impressive battle on a frozen lake) and some pointless and emotionless character deaths. The villains are almost nonexistent. One of them (who kills like half of the film's main characters) has no introduction or story at all. And the other, the film's main villain, has the most tenuous motivations, making it difficult to really care about who he is or why the heroes should defeat him. Another villain uses magic for no reason. This is sort of like what you would get if they made an action-movie sequel to Pride & Prejudice or something (I joke, but something close to that was actually made).
- The script is terrible. Starts off with promise, but then just decides to skip the plot and jump right to the fight scenes. There's no satisfying character growth or resolution. The last line of spoken narration falls so flat it's almost like the film is making sure that you know that it had nothing to say.
- The acting is bland. 7 of the 8 points I gave this are entirely because of Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen. But honestly, Yeoh is not nearly her best here and needs a director like Ang Lee to really shine. Yuen Wo-Ping (the director here in the sequel) does a fine job with the camera work, but doesn't know how to get the best out of his cast. Besides Yeoh, Donnie Yen is his usual watchable self, but doesn't get enough to work with. The rest of the cast is serviceable. They (mostly) know how to act and do stunts, but that's about all you can say about them.
- The music is actually quite good, if not nearly as memorable as the original's.
REWATCH VALUE: 3/10
- 3 points in case you want to see any of the fight scenes again. 0 Rewatch Value in the story.
- The costuming and sets were fine and it all looked good on film, but it lacked the believability of the first film, and everything felt very small-scale.
- The cinematography was probably the best part of the movie. Very nice camera work here.
- The action choreography is bordering on "vanilla" for this genre. They get creative in a few places, but most of the major battles lack a satisfying climax.
- Don't watch this directly after watching the original if you want to enjoy this movie. Otherwise, there's a little fun to be had here as long as you're not expecting anything grand.