Director: Woo-Ping Yuen
Stars: Michelle Yeoh, Donnie Yen, Harry Shum Jr., Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Jason Scott Lee, Eugenia Yuan, Roger Yuan, Juju Chan, Chris Pang, Woon Young Park, Darryl Quon, Veronica Ngo.
Plot Summary: A martial arts master reunites with her lost love and a group of warriors of virtue to stop a warlord bent on acquiring a sword that will give him the power to rule all the lands.
This movie takes place in ancient China and mixes early martial arts mysticism with a plot centered around the protection of a powerful sword and her sworn duty. Michelle Yeoh reprises her role as Yu Shu Lien, master of the Iron way. When the sword comes under threat a group assembles to help her protect it.
Michelle remains true to her character from the first movie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The two movies bear little resemblance in art direction and this second trip around benefits from a beautiful palette and equally great camera work. The martial arts choreography is top notch and Michelle (a martial arts master herself who has worked alongside Jackie Chan keeping his pace in acrobatic stunts) is in top form. Donnie Yen as Meng Sizhao is equally so and their chemistry is great as the aged masters who oversee a group of younger martial artists and students.
The warriors who show up to help them too are a fun bunch providing some of the comic relief and lightening up the serious tenure just enough so as not to lose the investment in tension set up by the leading roles. Jason Scott Lee shows up as the merciless Hades Dai. It felt odd watching him in such a role but he plays the part perfectly.
The plot arc carries the film on a collision course while visiting the each of the cast for their part in the sub plots, which include a student who falls for the wiles of a prisoner and the romantic tension rekindled by Yeoh and Yen. If you're a fan of martial arts films then you're in for a treat. Even if you aren't, you'll surely love this one as it lures you into the plot and building conflict.
Great movie. Two thumbs up!