The classic novel of "Journey To The West" needs no introduction. This hugely popular 16th-century Chinese literature has been adapted many times as various media forms ranging from TV series to feature-length movies. And speaking of feature-length adaptations, who could forget the iconic Jeff Lau's two-part "A Chinese Odyssey" fantasy comedies starring the incomparable Stephen Chow back in 1995?
Not only were both movies huge box-office hits in Hong Kong, but they also earned multiple award recognitions including Best Actor for Stephen Chow at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.
More than a decade after the enormous successes of the "A Chinese Odyssey" two-part series, Jeff Lau returns with the third instalment featuring an exciting roster of China and Hong Kong actors such as Han Geng, Wu Jing and Karen Mok.
With "A Chinese Odyssey: Part Three" now showing, here are the five reasons you might want to check the movie out!
It goes without saying that Stephen Chow and Athena Chu have immortalised their respective roles as Joker/Monkey King and Lin Zixia in the two-part "A Chinese Odyssey" series. They have undoubtedly shared a wonderful chemistry together and even displayed one of their best acting performances ever seen in their illustrious careers.
Now, rising up to the challenge is Han Geng and Tiffany Tang, both who are tasked to play the roles made famous by Stephen and Athena. You could say it is obviously a huge undertaking, but if recent actors like Wen Zhang ("Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons") and Show Luo ("The Mermaid") could pull off a Stephen Chow-like "mo lei tau" (nonsensical comedy) impersonation, Han Geng and Tiffany Tang might prove the naysayers with their surprisingly hilarious performances. Sure, both "Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons" and "The Mermaid" have the benefits of Stephen Chow himself being the director guiding his actors, but let's not forget that Jeff Lau is also no slouch to directing actors in numerous "mo lei tau" comedies. Which brings us to...
Jeff Lau returns to the director's chair for "A Chinese Odyssey: Part Three". While his popularity has dwindled over the recent years, it's hard to deny that Jeff Lau used to be one of Hong Kong's most profitable directors who made a string of box office hits during the '90s era. Other than his financially successful "A Chinese Odyssey" two-part series, he is also known for "92 Legendary La Rose Noire", "The Eagle Shooting Heroes" and "Treasure Hunt". With Lau spearheading "A Chinese Odyssey: Part Three" himself, this could be one of the funniest "mo lei tau" fantasy comedies for today's generation if done right.
Remember the classic scene where Law Kar-Ying belts the Cantonese version of "Only You" in "A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella"? Well, he manages to pull it off successfully... in a cringeworthy yet funny way, of course. In honour of that hilarious "Only You" moment, Jeff Lau enlists martial art star Wu Jing (who can be currently seen in Benny Chan's "Call Of Heroes") to replace Law Kar-Ying as the new Longevity Monk and challenge him to sing the song. While Wu Jing is barely known as a comedian since he's more into straightforward action roles, it would be interesting to see how he is able to measure up against Law Kar-Ying for the singing part. After all, renowned composer Lowell Lo ("Prison On Fire", "God Of Gamblers" and the two-part "A Chinese Odyssey" series) is even hired to help the martial arts star get into that singing mojo.
While a majority of existing roles (e.g. Joker/Monkey King, Lin Zixia and Longevity Monk) are played by different actors this time around, at least there is one original actress reprising a role from the "A Chinese Odyssey" two-part series. That actress in question is Karen Mok, who returns as Bak Jing Jing in "A Chinese Odyssey: Part Three".
Reviving a popular franchise for today's generation has been an ongoing trend these days. Depending on the direction a studio is aiming for, it could be either an updated remake or a sequel. For "A Chinese Odyssey: Part Three", the third instalment is reportedly a continuation from the first two movies of more than a decade ago. Whether or not "A Chinese Odyssey: Part One" is able to match or is better than its predecessors remain to be seen. But whatever it is, it would be interesting to see how Jeff Lau chooses to continue the story after the emotional finale of "A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella".
"A Chinese Odyssey: Part Three" is now showing in cinemas.