The New Zealand-filmed sequel to Ang Lee's Oscar winner Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon hits Netflix this Friday.

But early reviews suggest you might be better off finding something else to watch on the streaming site.

Shot between New Zealand and China in 2014, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny sees a mostly new cast star in a film based on the book Iron Knight, Silver Vase by Du Lu Wang.

Only Michelle Yeoh returns from the first film, while Hong Kong action icon Yuen Woo-ping directs.


The 2000 original was a box office success story earning US214 million on the back of a US$17 million budget, and won the film four Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Language film.

Judging by early reviews, the sequel - from producer Harvey Weinstein - is unlikely to match it.

"The emotional connective tissue that made Lee's film so poetic, romantic, tragic and thrilling is missing here, reducing Sword of Destiny to a series of loosely related fight sequences and gauzy, overwrought flashbacks," wrote The Hollywood Reporter in a scathing review.

"Less actively bad than it is plodding, Sword of Destiny is nearly 100 percent free of cast chemistry, and relies heavily on well-worn plot beats and recurring motifs," it said, before labelling it "unnecessary".

Screen International agreed, calling the sequel a "wasted opportunity".

"Clocking in at just 96 minutes, Sword of Destiny feels heavily truncated, lacking in narrative substance. Scant characterisation and timid action choreography don't help matters," wrote their reviewer. "It always feels like a cash-in."

In a telling sign, theatrical support in American cinemas has been downgraded to just a handful of locations. When the film was announced, a big deal was made of simultaneous across theatres, including iMax.