4 people found this review helpful
Mar 24, 2016
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 4.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 3.0
Let's get the most important part out of the way first: Michelle Yeoh is still amazing. 53 years old and still doing her own stunts. Nice.
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).

STORY: 4/10
- 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.

MUSIC: 7.5/10
- The music is actually quite good, if not nearly as memorable as the original's.

- 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.

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The Butterfly
2 people found this review helpful
Aug 4, 2023
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 10
This review may contain spoilers

"All this for a sword"

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was epic storytelling and my highest rated wuxia. For this sequel without Ang Lee and being a Netflix release, I lowered my expectations and was not disappointed. Sword of Destiny was smaller in scope and storytelling, but still a fun movie. Yuen Woo Ping shot it like a more traditional wuxia, albeit with a bigger budget. More than that Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen reteamed again (loved them in Wing Chun!), and that was enough to make my martial arts loving heart beat with love.

Yu Shu Lien thought long dead returns to mourn Sir Te and helps his son secure the legendary Green Destiny sword. The evil and ruthless Hades Dai, wants to rule the martial world and is determined to have the Green Destiny for himself. Silent Wolf, whose rumored death was greatly exaggerated puts together a team of five martial artists from the Iron Way to help protect the sword. Thrown into the battle is Snow Vase, a young martial artist who wants the sword to kill Hades Dai and Wei Fang, a young martial artist who works for Hades and has been tasked with stealing the famous sword. They have a connection that will draw them together all under the watchful eye of Shu Lien. While the warriors work together to keep the sword and each other safe, Shu Lien must decide if she can forgive Silent Wolf for his past mistakes.

The movie was only around ninety minutes long and relied heavily on Michelle Yeoh's and Donnie Yen's chemistry. The supporting characters were not given enough time to be fully developed on either the good guys' side or the bad guys', yet they were archetypes from the genre which gave the viewer a shorthand of what to expect from them-the lone warrior, loyal martial artists, a blind witch, ruthless evil fighters, etc. Snow Vase and Wei Fang were the young warriors who had to find their redemption and way along with a little flirting under the guidance of Shu Lien and Silent Wolf.

The fights were all well-choreographed which was to be expected by Yuen Woo Ping. Was there high-flying action? It was a wuxia, so you betcha! Whether it was Michelle fighting an ambush in the forest, Donnie nonchalantly taking out a gang of hotheads at a tavern, or a spectacularly filmed fight on a thawing frozen lake, they were all outstanding thanks to Michelle and Donnie's experience. Michelle still had a quickness and fluidity that made her captivating to watch. Donnie brought a playfulness and solemnity to his fights depending on the opponent. Watching these two veterans fight back-to-back brought me sheer joy. I loved that there was a tower for the final battle. It brought back memories of Cheng Pei Pei (Jade Fox) having to confront the bad guys with their tower in one of her old movies. And the ubiquitous outdoor tavern from many an old kung fu movie was the perfect setting for the audience to meet Silent Wolf and the Iron Way fighters.

Michelle Yeoh has a regal bearing and elegance that cannot be duplicated. Her expressive face and voice pull you into her character. Only she could make a line like "You will not find it there nor take it from here" believable. Much has been made of the movie being filmed in English and later dubbed with Mandarin. Selfishly, I'm happy it was. There was ferocious backlash over Michelle's accented Mandarin in the original. I tried watching the dubbed version of Sword of Destiny but the professional Mandarin voice actress sounded incredibly generic and flat, sapping all the energy and nuance out of Yeoh's performance. I find Michelle's voice acting essential to her performance and was relieved to hear it in the English version. Maybe it was the wig or makeup but Donnie has never looked better or more romantic than in this film. And as you would expect of him, he handled the fight scenes splendidly. Harry Shum gave a complex performance as the young warrior at a crossroads in his life. The weakest performance of the main characters was Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Snow Vase. This appeared to be her first role and it showed. Finally, Jason Scott Lee made for a sinister villain, even if he wasn't given much to do. This was a Chinese and Hollywood/Netflix amalgam, and an international one at that, with actors from Malaysia, Hong Kong, the USA, Australia, China, Korea, New Zealand, and Vietnam. How you feel about a multi-national cast in a kung fu staple may affect your viewing pleasure.

For me, I can look at this film as completely separate from the original. It was not a perfect film, but for the genre it was quite good, I've watched my share of terrible ones. It did take some time to alter my perception of it being in English and not Mandarin or Cantonese, which did take away the authentic feel to it. There was a bit of cheese in it, but the original had its share, too, most wuxias do. The cinematography was nice, fights were solid, the scenery was beautiful, the OST felt integral to the story, aside from that ugly green sword-the props, sets and costumes were excellent, and most of the acting was acceptable to exemplary. Most of all it entertained me. I have watched this film numerous times and still enjoy it upon each viewing. I'm able to watch Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen once again fighting side by side which makes this a winner in my book.


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0 people found this review helpful
Jan 3, 2022
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0

Not Like Original. Watch It as a Stand Alone.

Unfortunately because this was supposed to be a sequel to the original oscar winning movie it never had a chance to cut thae grade of the first. But if you watch it on its own merits by the dynamic casting of Donnie Yen and Michelle yeoh, both legends in their own right, and look at the rest of the young cast there is good solid acting and great potential for the younger. I loved it because I watched it on its own merits and the combination of Donnie and Michelle and what was once thought to be was not I looked upon this as telling the story behind Michelle's character. How she coped with Chow Yun 's death and finding out a death had come to life. It is still a movie about honour, dignity, duty, piety, the martial world and a love refound and a love started. I do not think they could have made this in any other way because the great figure in the first movie was like no other. In this it shows that they had flaws and made wrong decisions and not everything is as you may think. The sword was supposed to be the centrepiece but truthfully I believe it was Michelle's character and opening her eyes and her heart and still remain true to herself and keep her love locked in a space in heart for another to be able to enter. There is now way you could compare the 2 movies as they were different stories and as I said before, it could not surpass the first. But it was wonderful to see what happened to her afterwards. It gave closure for me. Watch it as a stand alone movie.. You will enjoy it more.

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Mati world
0 people found this review helpful
Jul 22, 2019
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 3.0
I will keep it shortly and I would just say that I watched this because of the amazing first movie.

But unfortunately it does not reach the level of the previous one in the content of the story, there is not any characters development. (its been around 15 years that I saw the first part and I still remember their love story, which does not apply for this movie at all).

It worth to watch it only for the martial arts, amazing fighting scenes and cinematography.

P.S. I watched it also because of the actor Harry Shum Jr.(character Wei-Fang), which plays Magnus Bane in Shadowhunters <3

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



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