There is so very much to rave about with regards to this film, that I struggle to know where to start. This is my all-time favourite martial arts film, because it moves so far out of the standard martial arts genre that any film fan can enjoy it.
Chow Yun-Fat is superb as Li Mu Bai, warrior hero and Wudan disciple. Stately and honourable, he is entirely believable, a fantastic performance. Michelle Yeoh also shines, with the chance to show off her considerable acting ability. Together, they combine perfectly. Great performances are also given by the supporting cast, notably Zhang Ziyi.
Ang Lee is at his directorial best, I've watched many of his films, both Chinese and Western, and this, for me is the highlight. The character-driven nature of this piece is perfectly captured, I cannot praise it highly enough.
On an action front, this is about the only film I can think of where heavy use of wires with martial arts works to truly enhance the film. It is simply stunning. But what really stands out is the acting, where the relationship between the two main characters is portrayed with beautiful restraint.
This movie is, to me, virtually flawless. A true epic and a true classic.