Title: Ying xiong
Year: 2002 (China), 2004 (US)
Director: Yimou Zhang
Writer: Feng Li, Bin Wang & Yimou Zhang
Starring: Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung, Ziyi Zhang, Daoming Chen, Donnie Yen
Music: Tan Dun
Distinctions: Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film; formerly on IMDb’s Top 250
Synopsis: a warrior tells a king the story of how he defeated the king’s enemies
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), March 2008
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good).
Objective Rating: 8/10 (points off for characters and dialog) c. 3.0/4 (Good).
Fun and pretty. The first 2/3 or so of the movie are great — complex, but with a folktale type structure. Then the tension diffuses and is replaced by patriotism. It balances out to positive, though. The characters are corny, although Li’s character and the King (Daoming Chen) are cool in an action movie way. This was my first Jet Li movie; I was a little surprised to find that he’s a good actor. The music, the look of the movie and the cinematography all rip of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but I’m okay with that since this movie’s infinitely more entertaining (and in the music’s case, it’s Tan Dun ripping off himself).