Above: Wen Zhang and Shu Qi share a kiss in “Journey to the West”.
Directed by Stephen Chow (周星馳), Journey to the West <西游.降魔篇> will be arriving in theaters on February 7 in time for the Lunar New Year weekend. Despite not making any physical appearance in the movie, Stephen’s signature marks of slapstick humor can be found in Journey to the West. According to film critics who have seen advanced screenings, there are no cold moments in the film, but the humor relies on gags instead of inducing belly-crunching laughter as found in Stephen’s previous films, Kungfu Hustle <功夫> and Shaolin Soccer <少林足球>.
Clocking in at 1 hour 50 minutes long, Journey to the West is adapted from the classic Chinese novel of the same title. The movie is filled with numerous CGI effects, in which the most impressive scenes feature a giant sting ray killing people, and a pig demon turning into a wild hog.
More Like a Prequel
The novel, Journey to the West, follows the adventures of a monk named Tripitaka, who is entrusted by Guanyin with the task of retrieving the Buddhist sutras from India with his three disciples, Monkey King, Pigsy, and Sandy. However, Stephen Chow’s movie acts as a prequel to that story. Not yet known as Tripitaka, Xuan Zang, played by mainland Chinese actor Wen Zhang (文章) receives the assistance of demon hunter (Shu Qi 舒淇) in turning the three evil demons into his good disciples with his love. In the course, he also discovered a greater love after the death of Shu Qi.
In the story, it is said that the Monkey King’s golden staff had belonged to Shu Qi’s demon hunter. Shu Qi’s character, Miss Duan, had changed it into a ring and gifted it to Xuan Zang as a token of love. However, her love was rejected by Xuan Zang. Only upon her death did Xuan Zang realize he had fallen in love with her long ago. Xuan Zang’s “Love you one thousand years, love you ten thousand years” was reminiscent of Stephen Chow and Athena Chu’s (朱茵) love in A Chinese Odyssey <西遊記>.
Show Luo and Chrissy Chau Guest Star
Show Luo (羅志祥) who plays the Persian prince who is devoid of emotions, has only two scenes in the show. Because the Persian prince is a weakling, he is carried in a sedan by 4 old fairies. Even in the scene where he fought with the Monkey King (played by Huang Bo 黃渤), he never left the sedan. Sexy siren Chrissie Chau (周秀娜) will perform an alluring dance, in an attempt to seduce the upright Xuan Zang, resulting in several rib-tickling moments.
Stephen’s Signature Slapstick Humor
As with Stephen’s previous works, the movie is filled with exaggerated slapstick gags, even in the love story between Wen Zhang and Shu Qi’s characters. Observant audiences may even be able to pin-point aspects of Kungfu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer and A Chinese Odyssey in the show. Though some may feel the love story is fashioned after A Chinese Odyssey, Shu Qi is definitely not a shadow of Athena Chu but stood out on her own as the highly skilled yet captivating demon hunter. Wen Zhang and Huang Bo’s performances were also strong as well.
Source: Ming Pao
This article is written by Karen for JayneStars.com.