Chinese Odyssey 2002 (2002)

Chinese Odyssey 2002 (2002)

An absurd, ridiculous parody of classic Chinese dramas that comes with a sweet twist

7.5

Movie

Hong Kong
Cantonese
Action, Comedy, Romance
2002
JEFF LAU CHUN-WAI
Athena Chu, Chang Chen, Eric Kot Man-Fai
91 min

TLDR

This was supposed to be fun and slapstick, but why did I tear up in the ring test… Tony Leung Chiu Wai is just too good!

What it's about

Village bully Li Yilong and his crossdressing sister Feng have no prospects in life, other than the restaurant their parents left them. To improve their station, Yilong sets out to find a suitable husband, however, the man he has in mind is secretly the princess in disguise.

The take

While produced by Wong Kar Wai, Chinese Odyssey 2002 isn’t a moody, melancholy drama that we’re used to. Instead, the Ming Dynasty-set adventure directed by Jeffrey Lau comically spoofs plenty of the beloved genres that captivated Chinese audiences– wuxia epics, musical dramas, and historical romances. The ludicrous crossdressing plot is played in such an over-the-top way, with Lau visually delivering his jabs, with a narrator providing droll commentary on the events, and with intercuts of faux interviews and excerpts from everyone, even including the disgruntled innkeeper spying on the crossdressing princess and the confused restaurant owner. It’s actually quite impressive how the ridiculous plot leads to such a wholesome, moving conclusion.

What stands out

It’s just so funny to see Wong Kar Wai’s usual cast of actors have fun with their more lighthearted roles here.

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