A Chinese Odyssey Part 1 & 2 (Jeff Lau, 1995)
by Mar Galo
It”s only appropriate to watch this film during Lunar New Year and to watch both films in one sitting, though the plot may be overwhelming since it”s rife with characters that didn”t get enough backstory, leaving viewers confused as to their purpose besides filling in screen time. Based on the Chinese classical novel, Journey to the West, this adaptation focused on the origin of Monkey King played by none other than Stephen Chow, the king of mischief. Don”t be fooled by the traditional literature label as both films contained lots of Stephen Chow”s random gag, an elaborate unrequited love story, a song by the Longevity Monk (think you”ll like his classic rendition), a Wong Kar Wai parody on Part 2, and plenty of pop-up characters that will make your head spin if not already from the high-wire flying wuxia action.
With that, I”d have to say this is an entertaining film to watch. You”ll get so much of sci-fi, fantasy wire-fu action that you may think Tsui Hark directed this during his heyday. It gets a bit wearisome midway with Stephen Chow”s schtick and the time travel but it”s still one of the great fantasy Hongkong film to date. Especially if you”re looking for a classic sword fighting with an all-star eye candy cast. I caca-niqueis should mention that Karen Mok and Athena Chu are looking mighty fine in this film and if that”s not an incentive, perhaps you”d go for Ng Man Tat as Pigsy (of course!) or the classic mortal romance. There”s something for everyone in this comedy gem.
Fantasy adventure about the arrival of Buddhism in China. When the Goddess of Happiness tosses the Longevity Monk and his disciples out of heaven (because the Monkey King tried to attain immortality), the Monkey King is reincarnated as the Joker. He now spends his time chasing two jealous women. When one of them is dying, the Joker goes back in time in an attempt to save her. (IMDB)