august MOVIE MEME, day 18: my favorite action movie
Ah, movie rarities. Perhaps the greatest one is this: a good action movie. Known most as shoot-’em-up, mindless blowings up of things, you don’t often stumble upon a flick of this genre that really works on all levels. In this case, I’ve chosen to mention two such movies.
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000, dir. Ang Lee) – Though it’s full of non-traditional action, at least by Western standards, this martial arts epic has to be considered “action” when it comes down to it. Starring Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-Fat, the movie follows a glorious story of love, valor, wisdom, and honor. And though Yeoh is wonderful as the matronly but secretly ferocious Shu Lien, newcomer Zhang Ziyi totally stole the show as the societally trapped fighting master Jen Yu. It combines all the elements of a good action movie: great performances, killer fight scenes, innovative techniques, beautiful art direction, and a timeless story. I just wish that all involved could return to this level of greatness again. Please tell me that Ang Lee is planning a rematch between Ziyi and Michelle soon…
Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (2003, dir. Quentin Tarantino) – Speaking of awesome fight scenes, this movie basically owns the concept. Basically a series of vignettes outlining revenge by Uma Thurman’s “The Bride” against her many betrayers, Kill Bill brings not only Thurman’s best performance but some of the best crafted scenes ever put to film. Even having to choose a favorite scene from just one volume of this two-parter is much too difficult.