A Chinese Odyssey Part 1 – Pandora’s Box (1995)
Director: Jeff Lau
Tagline: Super crotch-stamping fun!
Since Monkey Magic is my favourite TV show ever, I am already very familiar with the story of “Journey to the West” and the characters involved. In this movie the story is a bit different however as King Monkey (Stephen Chow) and King Bull get sick of the Longevity Monk’s (Law Kar-Ying) constant nagging and they eat him. The Goddess kills Monkey to punish him and he is reincarnated 500 years in the future as Joker, the leader of a gang of Robbers called the Axe Gang.
When we first meet him however, he is disabled due to the blow of a kung fu master and the Assistant Master Bandit (Ng Man-tat) is in charge. Onto the scene comes 30 th Madam (Yammie Nam) and her sister Pak Jing-Jing (Karen Mok), who boss the gang around, but are really looking for the Monkey King to lead them to Longevity Monk and his tasty flesh that makes you immortal.
Phew! I’m not even half way yet and it’s getting confusing. It is probably for the best if I don’t try and explain any more, suffice to say the giant King Bull makes an appearance, as does the Spider Woman incarnation of 30 th Madam. Once the Pandora’s box makes an appearance, it gets even more silly as the same sequence repeats over and over.
As this movie is the first part of the story, it was really only meant to introduce the characters and tell some of the background to the story. Monkey King only really appears at the start and in flashbacks, but they have done an excellent job with his make-up as you would hardly know it was Stephen Chow. I am also looking forward to the second part as Pig King makes an appearance and there is a lot more action it seems.
If you are going to watch this movie I would recommend having enough time set aside to watch this one and the next one in the same day or else you will just end up confused. Even though this isn’t really a normal Stephen Chow comedy, it is a great first part to a historical epic that is well worth watching.
This movie is also available as part of the Stephen Chow Collection: Period/Fantasy.