A visually beautiful tale set during the Chinese Qing dynasty (1700s) which centres around possession and pilfering of a priceless 400-year-old jade sword.
Chow Yun Fat plays Li Mu Bai, a career swordsman in service of the emperor and owner of the sword, while Michelle Yeoh plays a professional bodyguard whose dedication to honour and duty is complicated by her affection for Mu Bai, who after a lifetime of service is looking to settle down. The harmony is soon shattered by the arrival of the arch criminal Jade Dragon who has set her sights on the sword and will possess it all costs.
The camerawork and choreography of the groundbreakingly balletic martial arts sequences are exquisite. This is a tale that has stood its 18 years well and is a wonderful reaffirmation of film as a spectacle. Crouching Tiger is the best thing on TV today by a country mile.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Thursday 8.25pm on Sony Movies.