I remember the first time I saw Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was New Year's Day of 2001 in a San Francisco theater. When the film's first martial arts sequence (a nighttime girlfight between Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi) happened, the audience sat in stunned silence and then, when the sequence ended, started applauding only after taking a few moments to process what they had just witnessed. Most U.S. audiences had never seen anything quite like it before, and even those who were well-versed in the genre realized that everything old could be new again. That scene is so well-crafted, so exciting, and so unexpectedly beautiful and breathtaking that it even to this day brings me to the verge of tears, as I realized tonight when watching the movie again on DVD. Ang Lee's gravity-defying homage to every martial arts flick ever made pulsates with a kind of renewed energy and vitality that's rare and admirable.