ot;Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is a romance. It is a film full of love, tragedy, and honor. It also happens to be a martial arts movie, by far the best martial arts movie I have ever seen.
Film critic Roger Ebert said that the best martial arts films have nothing to do with fighting and everything to do with personal excellence.
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is the epitome of that definition, with maybe the exception of a couple of scenes where nobody is trying to kill anybody, just testing the opponent's capability.
The movie starts out with Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat) giving up his training for Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh). They have been in love for a long time, but have never spoken of it to one another. Li gives the Green Destiny, a sword that is almost magical, to Yu to give to a governor and friend. She stays with the governor to wait for Li, and this is where she meets Jen Yu (Zhang Ziyi), a princess who doesn't want to live the life she is going to have to live because she wants adventure. When the Green Destiny is stolen she thinks this might be her chance to find that adventure.
There is more to the plot, a lot more, but I don't want to spoil the movie. Suffice it to say that some vengeance is involved and a wonderful bit about Jen Yu's first love.
In "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," not only is the action a wonder for the eyes (the first fight scene is mind blowing in its grace and invention, but it is surprisingly moving as well.