Back in 2000, Sony Pictures Classics acquired and released the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to US theaters. The movie, starring Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, and Ziyi Zhang was well received with US audiences, and with folks like me, who grew up with Saturday afternoon kung fu movies, it was a throwback to my childhood. This movie brought about the era of classic martial arts cinema to the big screen in the US.
In this rendition, released by Netflix, the only carryover from the original cast was Michelle Yeoh. Legendary film martial artist (and new Star Wars: Rogue One cast member) Donnie Yen join the cast as well as Harry Shum Jr. (Revenge of the Green Dragon, Glee, Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments), and newbie actress Natasha Liu Bordizzo.
I have to confess, even though I am Asian, I’m not a fan of most Asian cinema. Generally speaking, the fact that many of the stories don’t end happily ever after is a problem for me. I go to the movies wanting to feel good in the end, not the other way around.
The original Sony release followed a similar “almost everyone dies in the end” plot line. Yeah the story was beautiful, but even if your hero is technically the heel, if they pull together a turnaround, their comeuppance in the end isn’t as sweet.
One big surprise was Jason Scott Lee, who makes his appearance as the villain in this piece. He doesn’t look like the actor we may have all remembered back when he played the legendary Bruce Lee in the 1993 film “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story”, but he does remind us of the old kung fu villains of old. Dude looks like a beast in this film.
For the sake of not ruining the story of the Netflix film, just note that it was enjoyable and it doesn’t all go sideways in the end, even though they did hint at it.
If anything, it will take you back to those martial arts movies we all loved long ago.
Check out the trailer below for Sword of Destiny, and if you want to check out the original, you can rent the 2000 film streaming now on YouTube starting from $2.99.