Was it the Girl or the Sword, or Both..?
As given in Wikipedia, I do share more info on the $15 mln production; which had generated $215 mln..!http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crouching_Tiger,_Hidden_Dragon
The theme of gender roles and obligations is an important aspect of the plot. In a storyline that begins prior to the timeline of the movie, Jade Fox is denied entry to the Wudan monastery because she is a woman. Intent on learning the secrets of Wudang fighting style, she poisons the master and steals a manual to learn Wudang on her own, which sets in motion the events of the film.
In Cinema Journal, Kenneth Chan notes the restrictions binding the female characters and their freedom and resulting actions. There is Jade Fox, whose bitterness against the limitations male-dominated society has set upon her resulted in her open revolt. Then there is Jen, the young woman at the verge of her wedding is still wavering, battling between her desire to be accepted and respected by her family and society and her wish to be free. Finally, there is Shu-lien. Although she lives the life of a warrior, Shu-lien adheres strictly to the moral codes and traditions of the patriarchal society she lives in. She respects male privilege and consistently suppresses her desire for Li Mubai due to certain societal obligations.
Rong Cai of Duke University asserts that the sword, Green Destiny, is passed along men, and is with the exception of Jen used only by male figures making the sword a phallic symbol of masculinity and male authority. Jen’s desire to use the sword, and her theft of it, thus also represents her wish to attain both the freedom and the power Li Mu-Bai possesses. Jen's suicide at the end of the film signifies the hopelessness of her quest for freedom. She realizes that marriage would confine her, the freedom she attempted killed someone, and her love for Lo would require her to give up the personal freedom she always wanted.
Poison is also a significant theme in this movie, both literally and figuratively. In the world of martial arts, poison is considered the act of one who is too cowardly and dishonorable to fight; and indeed, the only character that explicitly fits these characteristics is Jade Fox. The poison is a weapon of her bitterness and quest for vengeance: she poisons the master of Wudang, attempts to poison Jen and succeeds in killing Mu Bai.
However, the poison is not only of the physical sort: Jade Fox’s tutelage of Jen has left Jen spiritually poisoned, which can be seen in the lying, stealing and betrayal Jen commits. Even though she is the one who initially trained Jen, Jen is never seen to use poison herself. This indicates that there is hope yet to reform her and integrate her into society. In further play on this theme by the director, Jade Fox, as she dies, refers to the poison from a young child,"the deceit of an eight year old girl", obviously referring to what she considers her own spiritual poisoning by her young apprentice Jen.