The trailer for Netflix’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel dropped yesterday and it’s undeniably interesting. Whether it’s interesting in a good or bad way is on you. Titled Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, the movie stars Michelle Yeoh as Yu Shu-Lien making her return after 15 years since the first film by Ang Lee. Also making an appearance is Donnie Yen as Silent Wolf.
That’s all great and good. Both Yeoh and Yen are talented and the first film by Lee was exceptional. Except that this trailer shows none of what made Lee’s film so good to begin with. In fact, aside from starring Yeoh and bearing the Crouching Tiger name, nothing looks the same. And in this case, that’s probably not a good thing.
For starters, Yeoh’s voiceover in the trailer is in English. What many loved about Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was that it was entirely in Mandarin. Hopefully the English is for marketing purposes only. Yeoh and Yen’s English is just fine, but some of the essence will be lost if Netflix takes the all-English approach or even worse, dubs it.
Next we have, of course, some elaborate sword fighting and set pieces with some significant CGI peppered throughout. Sure, CGI is understandable in this day and age, but here it goes against the original Crouching Tiger and essence of Chinese martial arts movies. Not to mention it’s also really cheesy.
What’s most glaringly awful though is the song choice for the trailer. Some sort of robotic cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” plays throughout the first half. Seriously, it sounds like a slowed-down version sung by an Autobot.
At this point, as stated earlier, the movie looks like a totally different beast from Ang Lee’s wonderful martial arts love story from 2000. And not in a good way. It’s tonally off, the CGI looks cheap, and while it’s just a song and just a trailer, it’s still an indication that this project may have been taken in a wildly different, and possibly unfortunate, direction from the original. The movie will be released on Netflix and in IMAX theaters on February 8th.