Okay so the title sounds a little dull and when you find out it was directed by the same guy who did Sense and Sensability, you could be forgiven for expecting some high brow art picture. When you further find out its all in Chinese with subtitles, many would consider this to be the final nail in its coffin. Oh how wrong you are.
Already this has become the most successfull foreign film ever in the UK and with its limited release in the USA, it has the highest gross income per cinema. So what's the fuss about :-
Well just about every element has been thought out carefully by director Ang Lee, he has set a level for action film that everyone will now try to beat, whether they are successfull is another matter. The fighting, the effects, the scenery, the music, the story and the acting are all of a high standard.
The main problem I had with this film was that I was too busy looking for the effects, mainly when wirework was used. It was amazing to see people flying across the vast spaces but for me it took me out of the reality of the film for a moment. I think its mainly what happened with the actors feet while they were flying, they seemed to be kicking out underneath them, I suppose I was expecting their legs to stay steady similar to superman's flight. You can probably tell this is a tiny point but it was something I noticed and it doesn't mean the flying shouldn't have been done. On the opposite side, the fight scenes were almost too realistic, I really believed those swords were millimetres from the character's face. The film was excellent but for me the fights were just out of this world.
So, although its cliche, I would have to agree with almost all other reviews I've read and say this film is excellent. When released on video/DVD it will become a solid feature of drunken friday night at home, with blokes (and women, not to be sexist) recreating the more violent scenes in their living room and the subtitles will become less important with multiple viewing and more alcohol.