Back in 2000, director Ang Lee managed to combine operatic drama with stunning, elaborate martial-arts fight scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Adapted from the novel of the same name, the film won multiple awards and helped legitimize the martial-arts genre for mainstream audiences in the West. With the sequel, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, set to hit Netflix Friday, February 26, here’s a look back at some surprising facts from the ambitious, visionary movie that started it all.
The movie’s source material was adapted out of order
While the film borrows elements from earlier parts in the series, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is based on the fourth book in the five-part Crane-Iron pentalogy, written by Chinese novelist Wang Dulu and released between 1938 and 1942. A resident of Beijing, Dulu began writing mystery novels in the early 1930s, eventually having more than 50 books published before quitting writing to become a school teacher in 1949. Outside of a comic-book adaptation, as well as a handful of online summaries — including one on actress Michelle Yeoh’s website, there are no official English translations of the Crane-Iron books.
It’s also worth noting that Sword of Destiny is both a sequel to the 2000 film as well as an adaptation of Dulu’s novel Iron Knight, Silver Vase, the fifth book in the series.