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A Chinese Tall Story (2005)
"Qing dian da sheng" (original title)

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Ratings: 5.0/10 from 759 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 8 critic

A love story between an alien and a monk.

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Title: A Chinese Tall Story (2005)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Yue Meiyan
...
Princess Xiaoshan
Bo-lin Chen ...
...
Kenny Kwan ...
Steven Cheung ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kenny Bee ...
Alternate face of Buddha
Wai-Man Chan
Goo-Bi GC
Kara Hui ...
Cool Ping
San Kao
Yiu-Cheung Lai
Tats Lau
Keung Lee ...
(as Keung Lee)
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Storyline

Taking place in the younger days of the famous monk, Tripitaka (known for bringing the sacred Bhuddist sutras from India to China), the film tells a fantastical adventure of the monk and his three disciples. On their way to the city of Shache, the monk narrowly escapes an attack from a group of demons. While trying to think of a way to rescue his disciples, he is captured by the king of reptiles and placed under the vigilance of Meiyan, an ugly demon who falls in love with the monk. Luckily, a princess from another galaxy rescues the monk, deeply affecting Meiyan, who pursues the two. In a twist of fate, the ugly Meiyan decides to help her beloved and teams up with the princess to rescue Tripitaka's three disciples. Written by Ploy P.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

22 December 2005 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

A Chinese Tall Story  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$28,449 (Hong Kong) (6 January 2006)

Gross:

$1,062,153 (Hong Kong) (6 January 2006)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Tripitaka: 500 years ago, Wukong wrecked havoc in the Celestial Court. Today, it's my turn!
Sun Wukong: Wish I was that cool back then.
See more »

Connections

Spoofs A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Saint
Performed by Nicholas Tse, Charlene Choi
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User Reviews

 
Oh, Lord, what a mess
9 February 2010 | by (Gainesville, Virginia) – See all my reviews

It's like someone took a fantasy-type video game and put it in a blender, and the resulting scene mishmash is what we have to sit through.

Now let me go on record by saying how much I love Chinese fantasy films. From the fun and silly, to those focusing on martial arts, to the more dramatic and romantic types—it's a genre I very much enjoy. Films like "A Chinese Odyssey: Pandora's Box" and "A Chinese Odyssey: Cinderella" (both of which were written and/or directed by Jeffrey Lau); "The Bride with White Hair"; "Butterfly & Sword"; "Green Snake"; "A Chinese Ghost Story"; "Swordman II"; "Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain"; "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"; and others. Which is why I was looking forward to "A Chinese Tall Story." One of the film's characters is the "Monkey King" (aka Sun Wukong), an extremely well-known character in Chinese mythology, first told in the stories of the "Journey to the West," the epic adventure written about 500 years ago. (The story of the Monkey King and his disciples is also the focus of the "Chinese Odyssey" films, amongst many others). Other familiar characters that appear in the film are Zhu Wuneng (the pig character) and Sha Wujing.

So how does it all go wrong? Well, let's take an example familiar to Western audiences. How about the Robin Hood mythology? A well known story from ye olden days. Let's say that our Robin Hood film starred Wesley Snipes as Robin Hood, and Haley Joel Osment as Friar Tuck. Maid Marian is none other than Rosie Perez. Let's give Sir Robin an Uzi as well, because you never know when you might have to waste the Sheriff of Nottingham. They might need rocket packs also, and while we're at it, give them a tactical nuclear weapon because that sure could come in handy. If you think this sounds like a really neat retelling of the Robin Hood tale, then "A Chinese Tall Story" is the movie for you! As I indicated above, this movie is a jumbled mess. In the first 30 minutes, we are introduced not only to Sun Wukong, Zhu Wuneng, and Sha Wujing, but also to the monk Tripitaka (who is actually the main protagonist), kidnapped children, a "millennium bug demon" (which shoots laser beams), an underground Tree God, a lizard imp tribe, an angelic girl in an intergalactic egg, the Lord Chancellor Tortoise, a Sea Dragon King, a ever-morphing magic golden staff, a chatterbox imp girl, wormholes in space, and the Four Heavenly Knights. All this wouldn't be too bad--the tales and myths passed down over the years certainly do have all sorts of fantastical elements. But I guarantee you the Chinese mythology does not include much of the stuff we get subjected to in the last half of the film. (Helpful advice to the filmmakers: Just because your computer effects guys CAN come up with cool looking spaceships and depictions of intergalactic war, does not mean they SHOULD).

You know your Chinese mythology movie is on the wrong track when the director asks (and I am not making this up—it's a direct quote from the commentary) "I asked the composer whether or not we can have a more rock-and-roll type music when she transforms into some kind of android-like thing." Is there a story hidden in here somewhere? Yes. Yes, there is. Most of the adventure follows Tripitaka (played by Nicholas Tse—"Gen-X Cops," "Time and Tide," "My Schoolmate the Barbarian") and Meiyan, the lizard imp girl (played by Charlene Choi and a computer). Choi is the best thing going in this film. You may know her as half of the Canto-pop group "Twins" and from other films such as "The Twins Effect" (a fun flick) and "Just One Look" (a surprisingly good drama/romance/comedy). Poor Choi, being a lizard imp and all, is hardly recognizable with her warts, snagged out teeth, doughy nose, and hunched back. That is until the computers get a hold of and beautify her, which somehow makes it worse. Tse is passable, but all of the supporting actors were abysmal. A couple of recognizable faces in bit parts are wasted.

At one point I was debating with myself if "A Chinese Tall Story" was a spoof. I was almost able to convince myself that it was when the intergalactic egg girl (played by a very pretty Fan Bing-Bing) got out and lit up a Marlboro (!) while talking with Tripitaka who was practicing martial arts dressed in a Spider-Man costume (!!). But it is not a spoof. Of course there is the typical Hong Kong silliness, but the movie takes itself seriously enough, with enough scenes of romance and pathos (scored with a sledghammering of violins and evocative cellos) and rousing action and adventure.

You might think that you could watch this on a Netflix rental and it wouldn't cost you anything. (Oh, but it'll cost you, all right).

Is there anything good to say? Sure. The colors are vibrant (they are the best thing about this movie). And the filmmakers certainly were trying very hard. Too bad all that effort went into a movie that is not much more than a bad video game.


3 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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