Chinese Odyssey 2002
Winner of the Best Actress and Best Film Awards from the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, Jeffrey Lau's Chinese Odyssey 2002 is a unique martial arts comedy-romance that sends up Shakespeare, the Shaw Brothers, Beijing Opera high-wire thrills, and even producer Wong Kar-Wai's signature stylistic excess.
A movie that "packs a lot of laughs and action into a beautifully shot 105 minutes" (Variety), Chinese Odyssey 2002 follows royal heirs Princess Wushuang (Asian pop diva and Chungking Express heroine Faye Wong) and future Emperor Zheng De (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's Chen Chang) as they escape the Forbidden City to taste life among Ming Dynasty China's have-nots. But in a gender-bending twist, the princess disguises herself as a fierce male warrior who proves equally beguiling to both martial arts master King Bully (In the Mood for Love star Tony Leung, cast hilariously against type) and his sister Phoenix (Shaolin Soccer scene stealer Wei Zhao). When King Bully plays family match-maker, the foppish (and afro-wigged!) young emperor is f-rced to compete with his own sister for the beautiful commoner's hand.
Combining swordfights, slapstick, satire, songs, and genuine sentiment into a lightning-paced big-screen farrago of "identity changes and gender confusions; plot contortions, clever puns and a great punchline" (Time Out London), Chinese Odyssey 2002 may be the mother of all mo lei tau films Â the crazy-quilt Hong Kong super-farces recently popularized in the West by Stephen Chow.