There was a time when a sequel to lớn 2000’s “Crouching Tiger,Hidden Dragon” would have been a major cinematic event. After all, Ang Lee’sfilm not only won four Oscars but is the highest-grossing foreign language filmof all time in the United States, making over $120 million stateside và over$200 million worldwide. The fact that the sequel is opening in only a fewtheaters across the country & that most people will watch it on Netflix saysa great giảm giá khuyến mãi about the current state of foreign language films more than itshould indicate to viewers that this is some sort of straight-to-video, cheapiesequel (and it should be noted that the film made over $20 million theatricallyin its first week of release in China). We are rapidly headed khổng lồ a time whenforeign language films & documentaries will only be seen on streaming services like Netflix. In fact, with thehighest-grossing live-action foreign language film of 2015 bringing in a paltry$3.6 million (“A La Mala”) và Sony burying last week’s release of Stephen Chow’s“The Mermaid,” it feels like we may be there already.

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All of this is designed lớn explain why “Crouching Tiger,Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny” has been shuffled off khổng lồ Netflix asunceremoniously as “The Ridiculous Six” (there were no advance press screeningsand rumors of canceled advance public screenings). Harvey Weinstein & thoseat his company know that Netflix is actually the best way to lớn get a film likethis to lớn a mass audience. More people will see it this way than ever would withan arthouse and DVD release as it’s now on the front page of the service moreand more people use lớn watch film every single day. But it’s both a blessingand a curse. While it will reach a bigger audience, many cinephiles wrote it offbefore even seeing it because of the way it’s being delivered khổng lồ viewers. Whileit’s not the breakthrough film that will change the way we appreciate Netflixpremieres—and, trust me, that day will inevitably come—it is a step in theright direction, a well-made, confident piece of entertainment that lacks thepoetry and nuance of the first film and gets less interesting as its narrativethinness is revealed but never feels like something that’s being phoned in tomake a quick buck.

Working from a book in the same series as và by the sameauthor of the original called “Iron Knight, Silver Vase,” Yuen Woo-ping’s filmpicks up twenty years after the last film. Yu Shu Lien (the great MichelleYeoh) learns that a warlord named Hades dẻo (Jason Scott Lee) has been leavingbodies in his wake as he seeks a legendary sword, the Green Destiny, which isbeing held by Shu Lien. She is forced to điện thoại tư vấn in her former Iron Waycolleagues, including Silent Wolf (Donnie Yen), a former lover of Shu Lien’swho she thought dead. That thắm thiết entanglement is balanced by a younger onebetween Wei-fan (Harry Shum Jr.) và Snow Vase (Natasha Liu Bordizzo). Wei-fantries lớn break into Shu Lien’s compound khổng lồ steal the sword but is captured bySnow Vase, who is training with Shu Lien.

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Writer John Fusco (TV’s “Marco Polo”) may not have been theright man for this particular job. Written and performed in English, the scriptlacks the wonder và sense of history that the first film carried, too oftenfeeling lượt thích a series of poor excuses to lớn get us from one fight scene toanother. While the production thiết kế by Grant Major (“The Lord of the Rings”),Yeoh’s timeless charisma, và the fight choreography carries the film over itsfirst act, when characters start saying things like “We drink lớn remember andit seems you drink lớn forget,” the cheap screenwriting starts lớn drag the filmdown. It’s around this point that you also realize that dai isn’t much of avillain và that the newcomers are a little dull.

And yet Yuen’s sense of scope and skill withfluid fight direction and framing holds the piece together more than a typical,way-too-late sequel. Of course, Yuen was the fight choreographer not just onthe original film but for “The Matrix,” “Kill Bill,” “Kung Fu Hustle,” and manymore (and directed the “Iron Monkey” movies, among others). He knows how lớn handlethe fluid, balletic combat sequences, including a great multi-character meleeat a tavern and a climactic fight scene, captured well by cinematographer NewtonThomas Sigel (“Drive”). There’s an undeniable bit of cultural disconnect through“Sword of Destiny”—English language awkwardness, the fact that it looks like itwas shot in New Zealand (which it was)—that will be enough for some hardcoremartial arts fans khổng lồ dismiss it entirely. It’s also easy to believe that there’sa longer, better cut in a vault somewhere (this is Weinstein after all, and,well, “The Grandmaster” happened), but response to lớn “Sword of Destiny” is likely lớn comedown lớn expectation more than anything else—and awareness that the reason thisisn’t in a theater near you is more due lớn the state of the market than thequality of the film.


Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Editor of, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist,The new york Times, and Rolling Stone,and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.