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Netflix Queue: "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny"

Three thoughts about "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny"...

• I've seen a few reviews calling this a "cheap knockoff" of the original. I don't think that's entirely fair. For one thing, you can only be a virgin once, and the first time we saw rooftop wire work in the first movie was an astounding revelation to many of us Western movie watchers. (There is however a great ice-fighting scene in this edition.) And no, this movie doesn't have the aching, epic artistry that Ang Lee brought to the original. Watched on its own terms, though, it's fun Friday night flick. In some ways, it feels more "Chinese" than the original, which was famed for marrying Western storytelling sensibilities to Chinese martial arts flicks.

• If you're going to connect this movie to another, the better comparison might be 1994's "Wing Chun," which starred by Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen — same as this movie — and even had the same director, Woo-Ping Yuen. The two movies share more comic outlook; there's even a brief callback to "Wing Chun's" great table-fighting scene. The two "Crouching Tiger" movies contain a brand name — thanks Netflix! — but the newer movie reaches farther back in its references.

• Michelle Yeoh is 53. Goddamn.


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