Tian xia wu shuang (2002) Poster

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Superb comedy - sweet and moving, yet totally wacky!
sarastro713 January 2005
Chinese Odyssey is a thoroughly pleasant romantic comedy, captained by an extremely attractive cast of actors, and accompanied by delightful music. The plot is lifted right off of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and pulled off with remarkable wit and flair. It is certainly the best written Chinese comedy I've seen, and the gags are as much in the words and situations as in the visual setting and the facial mimicry.

The movie starts off as intense comedy, with hilariously effective anachronisms strewn about. Gradually, it becomes more and more serious about the love story, which is indeed genuinely moving, thanks to the brilliant cast, particularly Vicki Zhao and Faye Wong, who are both stunning-looking.

(Vicki Zhao is the kung fu girl from Shaolin Soccer; she is great; she can play anything, from emotionally devastated to deliciously sexy. And while I haven't seen beautiful songstress Faye Wong before, she looked very familiar to me, probably because she resembles Sandrine Holt a great deal. I also see in her filmography that she is in "2046", which is one of the next movies I plan to watch and review at IMDb.)

Chinese Odyssey is so beautifully shot, and stars such beautiful people, that one has to watch it twice; once to read the subtitles and once to look at people's faces! :-)

I don't know why everyone keeps calling this movie "nonsense" - it's not nonsense! It's the Monty Python- and Umberto Ecoesque humorous juxtaposition of elements with little or no mutual relevance! It's the highest form of comedy!

Anyway, this is an extremely good, pleasant and funny movie, with no negative elements that I can think of. 9 out of 10.
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Nearly Perfect Story and Cast.
GlennInWinnipeg25 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I have just watched the 2009 release -- 90 minute version -- and what a outstanding movie. It translates well to English -- though I recommend watching it twice (once to read, once to watch the expressions etc).

It is very funny, particularly if you know something about Wong Kar-Wai movies, or even movies that feature martial arts fighting (new and old); particularly Chungking Express (story 2) would be wise to have seen before.

The story is very very good .. and you have to be a bit on your toes with the dialogue as it features gender switching rolls -- remember the Princess escapes the Palace by dressing as a man.

Spoiler: One character -- Solid Gold Love -- my advice, he is introduced early and appears here and there in the movie; pay attention to him when he is on screen -- you will get a feeling that more is going on then the story we are seeing.

The cast are just amazing .. they are very good at comedy and you can tell they are enjoying themselves doing it and the chemistry is truly amazing! The 90 minute release has the Chinese opera scene removed, plus some sub-plot jokes. I suspect they wanted to tighten up the story as it is just so effective.
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An undeniably fun movie, if not a bit formulaic.
ace523873 October 2005
The thing that struck me most about this movie is its radiance. The music alone will tell you that this movie is about having fun.

The comedy is perhaps a little bit questionable, depending on you're tastes. Sometime's it's just simple verbal jokes, and at other times, it's just completely random. I found the randomness to be a little too weird to be funny at times, but most of the humor is fine.

My favorite scenes are the ones depicting pure enjoyment. One scene in particular that strikes me is the spoof of Chinese opera. Faye is singing, beautifully, as usual, and making lots of similies and such, and Tony just says a bunch of stupid stuff (probably because his character is uneducated). My favorite lines being: Faye: See those geese in the middle of the pond, enjoying each other's company like we are. Tony: Today they swim, Tomarrow they roast. Roast goose is truly delicious.

Often times in a movie about love, the ones that are remembered are the ones where the characters are creative in showing their love. I mean, it's not easy to give that kind of emotion to the audience with characters they have only known for two hours.

It's even harder to give the audience the enjoyment of being in the company of someone really fun. This song and dance, as well as other scenes in the movie accomplish this very well. While they're doing the ridiculous dances, Faye can be seen close to, if not bursting into laughter. The director and the actors really looked like they had great fun with this film, and that translates onto the audience.

The formulaic aspect of the movie, or the part i'm not so crazy about is the last 15 minutes or so. While i don't mind the plot's development, i feel the character reactions were a bit exaggerated. Both Faye and Tony end up going crazy, literally. There needn't be such an exaggeration to depict the sadness of the characters. In fact, that shouldn't even be a focus of a movie of pure fun like this.

It does ultimately end on a happy note, which is quite nice. In the end, i do find something special about this movie. Nothing really matches the pure enjoyment i feel from this movie. Every time i think of the drunken song, i can't help but smile. There are some parts of the movie which aren't quite as wonderful, but it's definitely worth you're time.
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Other references
neeliaush1 April 2005
This is a brilliant movie! Not only are there references to Wong Kar Wai's previous works and romantic kung fu films, but the story and characters are from an old Chinese tale and 1960's musical called Jiangshan Mei Ren (The Beauty from Jianshan) which is about the emperor who ventures out disguised as a commoner and falls in love with Pheonix, a lovely girl from the restaurant. The musical numbers and the continuing musical themes (including the La-la parts) are taken from the old 1960's movie and that type of Chinese musical genre. Chinese Odyssey 2002 puts a new spin into the musical numbers as well as developing the story between Pheonix's brother (Tony Lenug) and Princess Wushuang (Faye Wong). This film is enjoyable on its own, but when aware of the references, it just makes it that much funnier and witty. I highly recommend watching the original film and Wong Kar Wai's other works for their own sake, if not to just appreciate this multi-faceted film.
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Inside jokes
strawblade17 January 2003
This film is produced by Wong Kar Wai. There are a lot of inside jokes and spoofs on Wong's earlier movies. My favourite is the one where the Tony and Faye talk about distance. This is a re-make of their 'Chungking Express' encounter. I was in stitches. If one is not familiar with Wong's work, the movie will therefore be labelled as nonsense.
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Laugh out loud Stephen Chow Style.
dennisyoon2 March 2004
My friend an I were holding our stomachs and laughing so hard tears were coming out. If you liked "God of Cookery", "Forbidden City Cop", "Shaolin Soccer" or any of Stephen Chow's movies you're gonna love this, even though it is not one of his films. Takes me back to all the fun stuff that was coming out of HK a decade ago. Sure some things get lost in translation but if that was a problem for you then you might not like it. If you're into Hong Kong goofiness and slapstick period pieces you'll eat this up. The silly plot twists and gender misunderstandings make for some funny and awkward moments that keep your attention and the timing is spot on to tickle the funny bone. Great for laughs.
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Wonderful hilarious kick ass movie
marymorrissey14 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
There are no spoilers in here but... I'm not sure it's OK to quote from the facebook page as I would like to in an introduction to my wee review. Here goes...

"The Chinese Odyssey 2002 is a prime example of the persistence of Huangmei opera in mainstream Chinese cinema, in which the movie itself is a comedic parody of huangmei films like The Three Smiles (三笑), The Kingdom and the Beauty (江山美人), and The Love Eterne (梁山伯與祝英台). It is a Lunar New Year film, a practice of the Hong Kong movie industry to release a movie (usually a comedy) so as to boost movie ticket sales during the holiday season."

I cannot believe the bad reviews I'm reading of this film! I'm sorry but if you call this movie "nonsense" well honey I worry about you! I saw this film with a packed house and people were just going nuts. It's hilarious and just packed with entertainment rather like Amelie. The one thing I thought was a bit weak was some of these silly musical numbers. The first one was really kinda mitigated by a comment made by an old woman watching the love duet, but in general the musical numbers were kind of like "hmmmm. . . there is some room for improvement or maybe even cutting here!" but . . .

it's a small price to pay to watch them to see this delicious film.

Why does the lead review contain all this Wong Kar Wai bashing? He's a revered young director and I don't get how the first review being shown to the public here can be something so contrary to general opinion.

Anyway you can easily see from the rating the film got here that many people who loved it didn't bother to write comments and frankly only the stupid folks did!!!!
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If you like goofy...
jenlim11 June 2004
Chinese Odyssey 2002 is a really funny movie. If you've seen Ashes of Time, Chungking Express, He's a Woman, She's a Man, and any Zhao Wei movie, or the original Chinese Odyssey movies you have to see this. It's hilarious in a silly Hong Kong comedy way. And it has all the elements: action scenes, magic, love stories, and a Bollywood-style song number you will never forget. Oh, get it out of my head!

I don't know why it's not faring so well in the polls because I've seen it so many times but it still makes me laugh, and I haven't shown it to anyone who didn't find it funny.

The shocking part is that it only cost me $2.70 to buy this movie. In a state of recession, cheap laughter is twice as enjoyable.
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Chinese Odyssey 2002
Tweekums12 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
In Ming Dynasty China two pairs of siblings are strangely destined to be together; one the emperor and his sister, Wushuang, and the other Phoenix, a restaurant owner, and her wayward brother, Li Yilong AKA King Bully. The princess escapes, dressed as a man, and finds herself befriended by Li Yilong who is trying to find a nice man for his sister to marry. While he is trying to get Wushuang interested in his sister it is clear that she is actually falling for him; she even tells him she is a woman but he thinks she is joking. While they are away the Emperor, travelling incognito, finds himself in the same town and befriends Phoenix! Over the course of the film there are many misunderstandings and even when Li Yilong finally learns that Wushuang really is a woman it looks as if they won't be able to get together as the dowager empress strongly disapproves of him.

This comedy of misunderstandings manages to be funny at the same time as being quite silly. An example of the silliness is the magistrate's son who has an ear almost the size of his head! It is also hard to believe that anybody would mistake the beautiful Wushuang for a man whatever clothes she was wearing. If you aren't put off by such things this film is a lot of fun; the cast do a fine job; especially Tony Chiu Wai Leung who plays Li Yilong, Faye Wong who plays Princess Wushuang and Wei Zhao who plays Phoenix. There are some fight scenes although these too are played for laughs rather than excitement so there is no real sense of danger. Overall I'd say that this film was a lot of fun and is well worth watching although I suspect the silliness might put some viewers off.

These comments are based on watching the film in Cantonese with English subtitles.
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Incredibly convoluted cross-gender kung fu-ish. Pretty Good
p_r_alexander10 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Owing to constant nagging from her warty old mother, a Princess runs away from the family schloss using random acts of Kung Fu to beat up on the staff, rather than the more obvious but less cinematic approach of walking out the front door. To prevent being hoiked back to the palace and sent to bed without any dinner, she takes on the persona of a man, though it must be said, not a very masculine one.

Meanwhile in a village a local restaurateur is a known bad mannered all around bully who has to resort to eating loutishly at his competitor's café as a ploy to entice people to his own eating establishment where he is of course guaranteed not to be.

He's also obsessed with trying to marry off his sister and this isn't going well, possibly because she dresses as a man, and is prone to beating up casual visitors using random acts of Kung Fu. In addition he's made it a condition of marriage that suitors put their hands in a furnace without suffering injury. There are no takers but when he throws in a promise to leave the village once his sister is married, a queue forms. Unfortunately all the candidates only succeed in overloading the local burns ward.

Propinquitously (??) the Princess wanders into the village and she and the restaurateur form an instant bond. There is much eating and slapping on the back and close eye contact and clinking of mugs. On introducing the Princess to his sister, the three form a tight group and have many frolics and fun adventures, constantly in each other's company.

This is where the confusion begins! The brother sees the Princess (remember, she is dressed as a man) as a potential husband for his sister (remember, she is dressed as a man). But secretly, the Princess is getting the hots for the brother (who is not only dressed as a man, but is one), who thinks all the hugging and offers to massage bits of his body are good clean manly fun. The sister also falls for the Princess, longingly wishing she could reveal that she is a she and innocently believing the Princess is a he and not a she and therefore a potential spouse.

The audience knows that this will end badly, though sadly not for another 70 minutes. The Princess gets a hint too, when she books in to a fortune teller who incidentally looks remarkably like a woman dressed as a man who seems to know the Princess's identity and prophesies that she will be marrying some totally different man. She is disturbed but determined to persevere nevertheless.

The fun and games continue until a drunken cross-dressing party where the Princess gets into drag and comes out as a woman. Everyone laughs and she reverts to her alter ego. The sister comes out as a woman and everyone laughs, but she proves she is. No-one is stressed. The brother then tries the same trick. He is ugly and everyone laughs. They all wake up in the morning in the same bed with bad heads, a general feeling that something is not at all right, and a feeling of "where do we go from here".

The Princess realizes things are getting complicated (getting complicated?) and decides to leave to go "somewhere". The brother follows her and this happens for months, with adventures and random acts of Kung Fu along the way. At some point, under a peach tree, which is apparently significant, he catches up and announces to the Princess he has the soul of a woman, and the Princess kisses him. He is still under the impression that the Princess is a man and is understandably confused, though not enough to cease tongue action. She reveals to him she is actually a woman and has to prove it; and what's more, a Princess. He is convinced but now quite distressed because while he looks like he has bagged a woman, he has lost a Brother-in-law.

Meanwhile, with the help of the secret service, the Emperor eventually leaves to look for his sister, the Princess. While he decides not to dress as a woman, he does go incognito and in due course comes on the village, where he meets the sister of the restaurateur. She reveals she is a woman and they fall in love though she thinks he is just a general schmo. He reinforces this image by growing an afro and wearing platform clogs. They both do the horizontal tango but privacy seems to be an issue since several members of the secret service insist on sleeping with them, apparently but not convincingly just for his protection.

But love flourishes and the Emperor reveals his true identity. She is touched but insists he keep the Afro and goes back to introduce the Restaurateur's sister to Mumsy. Preparation is made for marriage. About this time the Princess turns up at the palace with her new man. Mummikins is not too keen on him for some reason and makes them both try on a set of his and hers rings, which are supposed to slip off if the marriage will fail. The rings do, and the restaurateur is sent packing.

The Princess then hangs around the Palace being annoyingly insane and attempting to do injury to herself by self-inflicted random acts of Kung Fu. Finally, she runs away and finds the restaurateur. She has brought the rings. She has a cunning plan. Remembering the incident under the Peach tree, he tries on the "she" ring and vice versa and voila, all is well for some reason which has become lost in translation.

Everyone gets married and the bad tempered mother is put into her place, though she appears to now have more warts than at the start of the movie. There is laughing all around and the credits roll. A sequel is threatened.
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Generally good
stuartmcd12 October 2002
First up, anyone wanting to see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon style martial arts carry-on should look elsewhere. This film is a one of the increasingly perplexing (to Westerners just after kung fu) school of Hong Kong comedies known as 'mo lei tow' (nonsense) films.

The basic feel of the movie is something akin to the Simpsons set in Ming dynasty China. Women pretend to be men, women fall in love with women pretending to be men, the women pretending to be men fall in love with the actual men, who are trying to fix them up with the women. It's a bit like a Shakespeare comedy, actually, with hilarious surreal flourishes.

So that's all good. Tony Leung is great as the male lead, as always (he's the Hong Kong equivalent of Robert Redford or Paul Newman, though somewhat younger). Faye Wong is equally good as the female lead, and her singing is lovely. The best bit in the film is a scene where Leung and Wong get stuck in quicksand and try to persuade a goose to rescue them.

Sadly, things go awry. Producer/director Wong Kar Wai is notorious (and critically lauded) for making arty, boring films (examples include the dreadful Ashes of Time, and In the Mood for Love), so I was pleasantly surprised that this film was so different. Alas, at the end, Wong tries to inject dramatic weight into proceedings to resolve the romantic tensions, and the action becomes a series of oblique internal monologues containing near-meaningless aphorisms (Wong's "forte"). Stumbling and choking under the weight of this nonsense (and not good, mo lei tow nonsense either), the film's conclusion is unnecessarily leaden and downbeat.

Still, Chinese Odyssey _is_ a funny film, and even the downhillness at the end can be excused. For more genuine examples of mo lei tow cinema (ie, not contrived by an arthouse director selfconciously trying to make his mark on the genre), try Flying Daggers (1993) or Stephen Chow's Forbidden City Cop (1995). In fact, just watch any Stephen Chow film.
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funny story
lia000279 November 2002
Wow funny story from Tony, Miss Wong, & Vicky. As usual Good acting from Tony and Miss Wong. But not good acting from Vicky, better her acting from "Pearl Princess" for me she just use her beauty not her acting.

When see this movie I laugh, laugh, and laugh. It can lost my stress. Even the story is not made sense at all but it's fine because this movie is special for make fun.

And maybe this is resurrection Hong Kong film with old story which is booming in 1990.
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It's a love story of a pair of siblings in Ming dynasty. Similar to many untold love stories
batistuta_01019 June 2005
Well, the first time i watched this movie in the cinema during my secondary school days, i thought it was a waste of money because i was deceived by the Chinese title of the movie.But after a few years, i happened to watch it on TV when i was so bored, then i finally understand the true meaning behind the story. Many of the people may think the story is lame and idiotic and the actors and actresses were wasting their time making this movie. What i can say to you people is you guys are just as blind as bat and you must learn to open your eyes.

I mean, the jokes are really hilarious (if u understand they purposely overdo it) ,their way of thinking and the story are so true.

Oh yea, the word is mirage. We must always see things in other perspective views. Think alternatively and you will find your questions and answers in this movie. : )

P.S Good luck, i found mine, how about you?
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Good movie!
souxiet25 April 2002
Ok, what was good about it? All 4 leads were perfect, the settings were gorgeous, the costumes were amazing, the story unfolded not quite as I thought it would, the witty one-liners got some good belly-laughs, and yes, that singing/dancing opera piece had me in stitches when in any other film it would get turned off. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I had a good laugh watching this, now that the DVD is out I'll be ordering it. 9 out of 10!
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shanghaivice5 April 2002
OK, here's another Chinese New Year offering that almost slipped through our fingers. The festive period has come and gone, but better late than never (for a review). Judging from what this film has to offer, it's no loss if you missed it in the midst of all that festive bingeing.

THE ESCAPE...Royal siblings (played by Faye Wong & Chang Chen) plotting their escape.

The story is set in ancient China and centres on two pairs of siblings. Faye Wong and Chang Chen are of royal blood while Tony Leung and Vicky Zhao Wei play commoners from a distant village.

The emperor and princess find life behind palace walls too mundane, and are always plotting their escape. Most of the time, the Empress Dowager and the palace guards foil their plans. Eventually, only the princess manages to escape, disguised as a man.

In comes the other set of siblings. Lung (Leung), the village bully, is an uncouth and rough man whose ambition in life is to just be a drifter. He has a younger sister, Phoenix, a tomboyish girl who operates a small restaurant and is looking for her true love. COMMONERS...Meet Lung (Leung, left), the village bully and his tomboyish sister, Phoenix (Vicky Zhao Wei).

Things get complicated when the princess arrives at the village and meets the siblings. She is attracted to Lung and vice versa. This confuses Lung (she is disguised as a man, remember?), so he sets out to match make his sister with his new friend. At the same time, Phoenix is also attracted to the princess.

The situation gets messier when the prince manages to find his way to the village, where he soon falls for Phoenix.

As a whole, there is no smooth flow to the story being told. Firstly, the flick jumps from one subplot to the next as and when it pleases. Besides that, mindless gags and jokes are carelessly thrown in and even though they do elicit laughter, the constant barrage of lame jokes gets a little tiring after an hour or so.

In a tale like this, the romance between the characters feels like fluff. So when the time calls for some supposedly heart-wrenching moments, it doesn't have much of an impact on the viewer.

You can't really develop any sympathy for the characters when everything is one big joke, can you? You tend to expect that the next moment will make you laugh. But sadly, genuinely funny scenes are few and far between. What you get mostly is silly humour. FAIR PRINCESS...Faye Wong looking absolutely lovely when not dressed up as a man.

Tony Leung seems to be comfortable taking on a comic role like this. Noted for his performances in artsy and serious films like In the Mood for Love and Chungking Express Leung proves that he's a versatile actor. Chang Chen, who is famous for his role in Crouching Tiger, also gingerly tackles his role as the emperor who sports an Afro.

Vicky Zhao Wei (My Fair Princess) is as adorable as ever with her huge, expressive eyes, while Faye Wong is OK as the very feminine looking man. But a good cast does not guarantee a good production if the material they have to work with is bad.

A friend summed up the movie very nicely with one word. When asked what she thought about the flick, she replied: `Nonsense.'

I agree.
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Patchy Humour But Just Passable
imdb-123466 March 2007
I's not as is this film is truly bad, in fact just as you are about to give up and switch off something genuinely and originally funny happens.

The main problem is that it is just that, a few jokes evenly spaced and just enough to keep you watching to the end but leaving a dissatisfied feeling that you could have watched something better in the same amount of time.

The acting is passable and in some cases rises above average but again it's nothing special.

Unfortunately the best word to describe the film is mediocre and with the addition of a paper thin plot to sustain it, it just doesn't match up to much better examples in the same genre and region.
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