Cinema: Master Of The Flying Somersault

Audiences watching the aerial ballets, lightning swordplay and Astaire-worthy foot fights in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon may gasp with childlike wonder and delight. Who is brilliant and daft enough to choreograph these nonstop battles? The answer is Yuen Wo-ping, stunt master supreme and, not incidentally, the director of a couple of dozen films--among them some of the most exciting in Hong Kong movie history. "He's directed more movies than I have," says Ang Lee. "And better ones."

Lee certainly owes much to his action choreographer, as both a colleague and an inspiration. Some of Crouching Tiger's most sensational exploits echo earlier...

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