The original Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a hit because a) it was gorgeous to look at and b) it brought fantasy swordfiighting and wirework fights to a level that was unprecedented at the time, thus giving especially its American audience something which seemed new, fresh, and invigorating in the service of a story that may not have been the most innovative, but which certainly was well serviced by the integration of those effects. The original weent on to become a surprise international hit, and remains the highest grossing foreign language film in American history. It also made superstars out of a number of its cast members, and made director Ang Lee a household name.
Now Netflix has decided to reenter that world with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny. Returning from the original film is star Michelle Yeoh. Joining her will be Donnie Yen, Harry Shum Jr and Jason Scott Lee. The film will be directed by Yuen Woo-ping, who was the action choreographer on the first film.
Sword of Destiny is said to be based on the fifth book in the series which CTHD was taken from (the original was an adaptation of the fourth.), so we know it has good source material. The only real question is whether, in the wake of the original’s seeming innovation and success, and coming in the wake of that and the movies that have come since, it can still bring something fresh to the table or will simply be viewed as more of the same. I suppose we will find out when it hits the streaming service next February.
Here’s the trailer: