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(2000) (Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh) (PG-13)

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Action/Drama: Two longtime martial arts masters and friends try to prevent a young woman from following a villainous female assassin over to the dark side as they battle with both of them over the girl's future and a legendary, 400-year-old sword.
Long ago in China, Li Mu Bai (CHOW YUN-FAT) is a martial arts master who has literally decided to hang up his sword, the 400-year-old Green Destiny, and has asked his longtime friend and associate, Yu Shu Lien (MICHELLE YEOH), to deliver it to Sir Te (LUNG SIHUNG), an elderly and respected leader in Beijing. Shu Lien is reluctant to do so, but finally agrees, while Li heads off to Wudan Mountain so that he can pay respects to his late master who was poisoned by a female assassin known as the Jade Fox (CHENG PEI PEI).

Arriving at Sir Te's home, Shu Lien meets Jen (ZHANG ZIYl) the apparently naïve but nevertheless aristocratic daughter of Governor Yu (LI FA ZENG), a prominent political figure. Jen isn't happy about her pending arranged marriage, and is fascinated and envious of Shu Lien's seemingly free life as a martial arts warrior.

That night, a masked figure steals the Green Destiny from Sir Te's compound, and despite the efforts of Shu Lien and Sir Te's chief security officer, Bo (GAO XIAN), to stop that, the thief gets away with the sword. An investigation gets under way and Police Inspector Tsai (WANG DE MING) and his daughter May (LI LI) believe the theft to be the work of none other than the Jade Fox.

Shu Lien has her own suspicions and begins to question Jen and test both her knowledge and abilities, stopping short of accusing her of the theft. Yet, as both Li and Jen's past lover, Lo (CHANG CHEN), arrive on the scene, the stage is set for surprising revelations and high octane martial arts battles as longtime grudges and fierce passions come to a head.

If they're fans of anyone in the cast or of martial arts films, they probably will, but it's highly unlikely that preteens - if they don't fall into either such category - will want to see it.
For martial arts violence and some sexuality.
  • CHOW YUN-FAT plays a martial arts master whose stoic and solemn demeanor hides his explosive fighting prowess and affection for Shu Lien.
  • MICHELLE YEOH plays his longtime friend, a fellow martial arts master, who never got a chance to love Li and who hopes to set Jen down the road of being good rather than evil.
  • ZHANG ZIYl plays a young and impressionable daughter of a governor who's gone over to the dark side with the Jade Fox and thus battles both Li and Shu Lien, all of which is presumably somewhat of a rebellious act against her predetermined life and inability to stay with her lover, Lo.
  • CHANG CHEN plays that man, a renegade living on the outskirts of society who won Jen's heart in the past despite a rocky and tenuous start to their relationship.
  • CHENG PEI PEI plays a middle-aged and villainous assassin who's responsible for several deaths, has taken Jen under her wing as her protégé, and battles others with her martial arts skills.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a quick look at the content found in this film that's been rated PG-13. As in most martial arts films, there's a plethora of martial arts fighting involving people being threatened, wounded/injured or killed with various weapons as well as the impact of both fast-moving hands and feet. Some of those encounters have somewhat bloody results, and several people are killed during the film.

    Such scenes, while played more for amazing action and stunts rather than true suspense, might be tense to some viewers, some kids might try to imitate some of the martial arts moves, and the villains in such scenes obviously has extreme cases of bad attitudes.

    Some briefly fooling around between a young man and woman occurs, with passionate kissing and some brief hand down the pants and on clothed breasts groping. While intercourse is implied, it's never seen, although a woman's bare breasts are partially seen through a wet shirt in a mostly nonsexual setting.

    Beyond that, a few subtitled, colorful phrases, some brief smoking and a woman being drugged by another woman, the rest of the film's remaining categories contain little or nothing in the way of other major objectionable content. Nonetheless, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for anyone in your home who wishes to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what occurs in the film.

  • Jen orders several things, including some warm wine.
  • The Jade Fox has used something to drug Jen and we briefly see her under the influence of this unknown drug.
  • We see a knife/sword impaled (edge first) into a man's forehead with some blood around the wound as well as from his mouth (but it's not tremendously gory).
  • Jen stabs Lo in the chest with a small knife, resulting in some blood coming out.
  • We see various men (who've just been beaten up by Jen in martial arts fighting) with bruises and slightly bloody cuts/scrapes on their faces.
  • Jen slices Shu Lien's arm with a sword (resulting in a little bit of blood).
  • Some blood comes out when a person is stabbed and we then see a little bit of blood on some clothing.
  • Jen and her master, Jade Fox, have both for stealing the Green Destiny sword and attempting to kill various people (we also hear that Jade Fox has already killed others, including Li's former master).
  • In a flashback, we see Lo and his men attacking a royal procession to steal their goods.
  • All of the fighting scenes listed under "Violence" may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers (although most are played for action rather than suspense).
  • A person tries to race back to another person who's been poisoned and will die if they don't receive the antidote to the poison that's killing them (non-graphically).
  • Martial arts weapons (swords, knives, staffs, axes, darts, arrows): Used during the various martial arts fighting that takes place. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases (in English subtitles): "Whore," "(You're an) idiot" and "Shut up."
  • Kids may try to imitate all of the martial arts fighting (and flying & leaping, etc.) that occurs in the film.
  • None.
  • A mild amount of some suspenseful and action-oriented music plays during the film.
  • None.
  • None.
  • The Jade Fox states that a master would sleep with her, but never teach her.
  • Jen and Lo briefly but passionately kiss.
  • We see Lo with his hand down inside Jen's pants and he then briefly runs it across her clothed breasts as the two make out while lying and rolling around on the ground (clothed) as it's implied that they have sex. Later, we see the two of them together in a body of water, apparently nude, but we don't see anything explicit.
  • We see the two of them making out again with her on top of him, but nothing explicit is seen.
  • Jen asks Li if it's her or the Green Destiny sword that he wants and then pulls open her top and we briefly see her nipples through her wet shirt.
  • We briefly see Lo kissing Jen while on top of her (nothing explicit is seen, but it's implied that they have sex).
  • Miscellaneous characters smoke sort some of pipes.
  • Tsai's daughter grieves after he's killed during a fight.
  • The strong female characters in the film and how they hold their own against the males.
  • Chinese history and folklore.
  • Jen's attraction to the "dark side" as a rebellious act toward her apparently predetermined life.
  • A thief gets into a martial arts fight with a man with punches, kicks and some martial arts weapons used. The thief later throws roof tiles at that man and others, and then gets into some prolonged hand-to-hand martial arts fighting (punches & kicks, etc.) with Shu Lien.
  • More martial arts fighting takes place where the participants use long poles, sharp knives and darts in trying to attack/defend themselves from others.
  • Another martial arts fight breaks out (involving swords and kicking/punching) between Jade Fox and Tsai, May, and Bo. Jen then shows up to assist the Jade Fox and more fighting occurs with Jade Fox killing Tsai (by striking him with a knife/sword that's then seen impaled in his forehead with some blood).
  • Li and Jen briefly engage in some martial arts fighting.
  • In a flashback, Lo and his men attack some warriors protecting Jen and her mother. As such, various people are sliced (and injured or killed) with swords (but not in a graphic fashion). Jen then knocks one of the men off his horse and then pursues and shoots arrows at Lo.
  • Jen later encounters more men who try to attack her, but she easily defends herself via martial arts fighting.
  • Jen tries attacking Lo, as she demands that he return her comb back to her. After moments of this, she eventually hits him over the head with a large rock, knocking him unconscious.
  • Later, she stabs him in the chest with a small knife, resulting in some blood coming out.
  • Two men approach Jen in a less than friendly fashion and as a result, she cuts the ends of their swords with hers. Later, those two men and many others arrive to confront Jen. In turn, she fights them one by one as they approach her (with martial arts punches & kicks, etc.). One of these men ends up falling over a railing to the floor below and another falls to the ground outside the building they're in as more sword fighting, etc. breaks out.
  • Shu Lien and Jen get into a prolonged fight where the former uses various martial arts weapons while trying to battle Jen who's using the Green Destiny sword. During this, various items in the large room in which they're fighting are damaged or destroyed, and Jen slices Shu Lien's arm (with a little bit of blood).
  • Li then shows up and gets into a sword fight with Jen that moves from one locale to the next.
  • The Jade Fox fires many poisonous darts at several people, with one hitting one person (who later dies from this wound).
  • A person stabs a person a few times (with a little bit of bloody results), eventually killing them.
  • A person jumps to their presumed death, but we don't see the impact as they "fly" away.

  • Reviewed November 17, 2000 / Posted December 22, 2000

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