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A Chinese Odyssey Part 1 & 2
Directed by Jeffrey Lau
Stephen Chow
Produced by Jeffrey Lau
Written by Jeffrey Lau
Starring Stephen Chow
Athena Chu
Ng Man Tat
Law Kar-Ying
Jeffrey Lau
Cinematography Hang-Seng Poon
Distributed by Mega Star
Media Asia
Release date(s) Hong Kong 1994
Running time Part 1: 98 min.
Part 2: 95 min.
Country Hong Kong Hong Kong
Language Cantonese

A Chinese Odyssey (Chinese: 大話西遊) is a pair of 1994 films, directed by Jeffrey Lau and starring Stephen Chow, Karen Mok, Ng Man Tat, and Athena Chu. The first movie in the duology is A Chinese Odyssey Part One: Pandora's Box (西遊記第壹佰零壹回之月光寶盒) and the second is A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella (西遊記大結局之仙履奇緣). The films combine slapstick comedy and a love story, and are loosely based on the Chinese classical novel Journey to the West. Although filmed in Cantonese, it has become a cult classic among young Mandarin-speaking adults in most Chinese cities.




Pandora's Box

The film begins with a prologue in which the Monkey King is punished by the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin for attempting to betray his master, the Longevity Monk, whom he found too annoying. The Bodhisattva Kuan-yin stops him and is about to imprison him forever; Tripitaka, however, says he is partly responsible for Monkey’s actions, and sacrifices himself in order to give Monkey a chance for redemption. Monkey is imprisoned for 500 years.

The main part of the film opens 500 years later, when Monkey has been reincarnated as Joker (Stephen Chow), the leader of a group of bandits, who does not know he is Monkey. Soon, Joker’s band of outlaws starts being attacked by a demon who looks like a beautiful woman but whose true form is a spider; she claims to be looking for a man with 3 birthmarks on his feet. The spider woman’s sister, Pak Jingjing (Karen Mok), who looks like a beautiful woman but whose true form is a ghostly demon, arrives and reveals that their plan is to capture the Longevity Monk and eat him to gain immortality. Joker, however, falls in love with Jingjing, who discovers that he is the reincarnation of Monkey, but Joker doesn’t believe her; an immortal called Grandpa Buddha arrives and explain to Joker what the demons are planning.

The group is later attacked by a powerful demon named King Bull, who is also looking for the Longevity Monk; Joker and his second-in-command flee with Jingjing and the spider woman to Waterfall Cave. When Jingjing refuses to kill Joker, she and her sister begin fighting, and ultimately she and Joker flee the cave. Jingjing was poisoned by her sister, however, and Joker soon goes back to the cave, without telling her, to seek medicine. The spider woman imprisons him there again, and in the meantime, Jingjing is captured by King Bull. While Joker is in the cave, he finds finds a magical item called Pandora’s Box, which has the power to send a person back in time. He also has a vision in which Kuan-yin tells him he is Monkey, and he will become Monkey for real once he meets an immortal who will give him three birthmarks on his feet. King Bull has Jingjing lead him to the cave, where Jingjing kills herself because she believes Joker has abandoned her. Joker finds her body and then uses Pandora’s Box to go back in time and save Jingjing, but he ends up accidentally going back in time 500 years and encountering a beautiful immortal named Zixia (Athena Chu), who confiscates Pandora's Box and puts three marks on his feet to mark him as her servant. He sees his reflection in the magic mirror that Grandpa Buddha had given him, and sees that although he still looks like Joker, he has actually become the Monkey King.


Now back in the days of the original journey to the west, Joker eventually finds the Longevity Monk and his fellow disciples Pigsy and Sandy, who are earlier incarnations of some of Joker’s bandit comrades. Joker does not want to accept his fate as Monkey King, but rather just seeks a way to reclaim Pandora’s box and get back to his own time and find Jingjing. Zixia, however, quickly falls in love with him. Zixia and the Longevity Monk are eventually captured by King Bull, who wants to take Zixia as a concubine, and Joker falls off a cliff and ends up back at Waterfall Cave, where he meets an older incarnation of Grandpa Buddha (who in this lifetime is a bandit) and finds Jingjing, who at this point knows nothing of the affair that she and Joker have in the future. Jingjing agrees to marry Joker, but eventually finds out he has actually fallen in love with Zixia. Jingjing leaves, and leaves Joker a note saying that he should save Zixia from King Bull. Before he can go, however, Jingjing’s sister (the spider woman) comes to Waterfall Cave and kills everybody there, including Joker

Joker, now dead, appears before Kuan-yin and accepts that he must become the Monkey King. He then becomes the true Monkey King, gains the powers of Monkey King (and puts on his head a magical fillet, which will shrink if he feels any human desire), and returns to the world, hurrying to King Bull’s wedding ceremony to save Zixia. Since he is now the Monkey King and must relinquish all human desire, including love, he tells Zixia that he is not Joker, and he pretends to scorn her.

Monkey is clearly more powerful than King Bull and holds the upper hand in the battle, but then King Bulls decides to try to destroy the entire city by sending it to the sun using the magical fan; Monkey flies to the airborne city to keep it away from the sun. As he leaves, Zixia's hand bracelets fall out of his sash, showing Zixia that the Monkey King truly is Joker. She shows Monkey this as her proof, distracting Monkey and leaving him vulnerable. King Bull attacks from behind, but Zixia jumps in front of his weapon and sacrifices herself to save Monkey King, whom she now knows is Joker. Monkey tries to save Zixia, but is too late and as she dies he realizes that he loves her and the fillet on his head begins to shrink, causing him great pain. Furious, he kills King Bull, then escapes with his master and fellow disciples via the Pandora's Box.

Ultimately, Monkey, the Longevity Monk, Pigsy, and Sandy all escape. Monkey King wakes up in a cave which looks so familiar to him. He asks Pigsy about what happened and gets the answer that there was a storm last night and he (Monkey King) took everybody to this place for shelter. It turns out everything happened to him before was just a dream. The Longevity Monk and his entourage decide to keep going and only stop when they encounter the incarnations of Joker and Zixia, who have been standing on a wall for days without talking, apparently because of some argument. Monkey isn’t allowed to experience love himself, but he can’t bear to see Joker and Zixia like this, so he blows up a cloud of dust to distract the spectators, and then momentarily takes control of Joker’s body, making him kiss Zixia. Joker and Zixia make up, ready to live happily ever after. Zixia glances at Monkey King as he turns away with strange gait, wondering who he is. Monkey walks away with regret, he looks at the couple the last time before sweeping all of his last memory about her out of his mind and continues onward in the Journey to the West.


Box office

It grossed HK $25,093,380 in Hong Kong.


See also

External links


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