A Chinese Odyssey

Reviewed by: hkopinions

March 29, 2008

Rating: five

Tony Leung as Li LiYong
Faye Wong as The Princess
Vicki Zhao as Phoenix
Chang Chen as The Emperor

Guest Appearances
Athena Chu
Rebecca Pan
Ning Jing
Eric Kot
Roy Cheng


"A Chinese Odyssey 2002" is a romantic comedy starring Tony Leung, Faye Wong, Vicki Zhao and Chang Chen. Tony is a wanderer/troublemaker. Everyone knows him by the title of "Bully the Kid." After returning to Meilong, his hometown, Tony decides to help find his tomboyish sister, Phoenix (Vicki Zhao), a suitable husband. Instead, Tony befriends a princess who is disguised as a man. Tony tries to get the princess to marry his sister but the princess is in love with Tony. There are two love stories in this movie. One love story is between Faye and Tony and the other love story is between Vicki and Chang. Will their love last? Will the Empress Dowager let mere commoners wed her royal children? Well, you will have to watch and see.

Tony Leung

Of course Tony did a wonderful job. Although he is not as young as before, Tony fitted the character perfectly. His chemistry with the princess was perfect. It was funny how he kept a toothpick in his hair to reuse over and over again.

Faye Wong

She also did a wonderful job. Her costume as a princess looked a little out of place because she looked better in her male costume.

Vicki Zhao

Her relationship with the emperor is so weird but so perfect. It is funny how she tries to win the princess' heart in the beginning and how she tries to seduce her.

Chang Chen

I would have never thought of him as an emperor. From his Afro hair to his Japanese-style hair, Chang Chen is just so funny. His mustache also makes him look funny. One good scene is when he fights Zuo and he tries to power up.

Athena Chu

Hilarious. She plays a male character all the way until the end. Only in one scene is she female. She looked very pretty in the scene where she was a goddess.

Best supporting actor
Eric Kot

Best supporting actress
Athena Chu

Watch it or forget it
A definite must see for everyone especially for Tony Leung fans.

What about the story

Here I will give a detailed summary of the movie. Skip this section if you do not want to know the story.

Back at the imperial palace, the emperor and the princess are planning their escape because they feel like they are in prison in the palace. They go their separate ways and escape. Unfortunately, the emperor gets captured and is brought to his mother, the Empress Dowager. Since the emperor is cowardly especially in the presence of his mother, he doesn't dare speak for his sister. The imperial guards report that the princess has escaped. When asked by the Empress Dowager how she escaped, the guards gave three different accounts. The first story was that the princess used special flying martial arts skills to fly over the palace walls. Another story was that she used her amazingly hard head to crash through the palace gates. The last story, which was true, was that the princess just casually walked out because everyone was busy looking for the emperor. The Empress Dowager sends imperial guards to capture the princess. After her escape, the princess, in a man's costume, gets robbed and so she has no money left.

In a different part of China, the infamous "Bully the Kid" also known as Li LiYong is getting ready to fight with some rivals. He charges his horse at the other gang members but everyone is stopped by officers. The head officer issues tickets to Li LiYong for carrying weapons over 1 kg and also for speeding. He shows Li LiYong some pictures that were taken of Li LiYong while he was committing the crimes. In actuality, the officers have a machine that takes pictures of people but there is really someone inside the machine painting these pictures. The head officer's true identity is Li LiYong's old teacher. He tells Li LiYong to stop his wandering ways and to return home. Li LiYong listens and returns to his hometown of Meilong.

At Li LiYong's arrival in Meilong, all the villagers flee because of his reputation of beating people up. Only a young woman stands up to him but she is his sister, Phoenix. They decide to playfully fight each other but are horrible at martial arts. Suddenly a man by the name of Zuo Lengchen turns up to avenge his brother and challenges Li LiYong. Zuo gets badly beaten by Phoenix and Li LiYong. According to Zuo's account, Li LiYong had powerful martial arts skills. This was false because Zuo was beaten by sticks. Li LiYong talks to Phoenix about marriage but she says that because of his reputation, no one has asked her. Another reason for her delayed marriage is because Phoenix dresses as a man most of the time. Li LiYong meets up with his blood brothers and is introduced to a new one by the name of Amour Amour (Athena Chu). In the morning, Li LiYong announces to the villagers that if any man can pass his hands through the sacred fire of Meilong unhurt then he can wed his sister. In addition, Li LiYong vows to leave Meilong forever. Every eligible man in Meilong lines up for this task because they want to rid the town of Li LiYong, but no one passes the test.

Back at the family restaurant, business is very bad because people fear Li LiYong. He tries to persuade people to eat there but people flee for their lives. One man pretended to die so he didn't have to eat there. Li LiYong gets an idea and goes to the rival restaurant to eat there. All the customers there run away scared and go to his restaurant. The restaurant owner pleas with Li LiYong to leave but he doesn't. A man throws water at the door just when the princess is entering. She flies in midair and does a back flip. Everyone claps. Li LiYong observes the man and since he is handsome and athletic, Li LiYong decides to arrange his sister to meet with the princess. The princess accepts Li LiYong's invitation to dine because she is broke. The restaurant owner tries to come up with a plan to get Li LiYong out of his restaurant. Li LiYong and the princess eat and drink for a long time. Phoenix eyes the princess and falls in love with him/her. After the meal, the princess bids farewell. Li LiYong gives the princess some money. Now there are again three accounts of this departure. Li LiYong's account is that the princess hugged him. The princess' account is that Li LiYong hugged her. The restaurant owner's account is that they both hugged each other and cried. There are many scenes of the two hugging but from different points-of-view. The princess finally departs.

Back at the restaurant, Li LiYong tells his sister that if she misses the princess then to just concentrate hard and the princess should reappear. Instead, Li LiYong concentrates so hard that he is frozen and Phoenix has to call a doctor. When Phoenix opens the door, the princess is standing outside. She has decided to stay for a while. Both Phoenix and Li LiYong are very happy. Phoenix reveals to the princess about Li LiYong's past. Two years ago, Li LiYong wasn't like this. He had a heart. He also fell in love with a girl named Zi Xia. When she broke her leg, he carried her for many miles just to get her a doctor. When her family became rich, Li LiYong wasn't good enough for her. After this incident, Li LiYong left home to be a wanderer.

That night they had a party and got drunk. The princess tells Li LiYong and Phoenix that she is a woman and dresses as a woman. Phoenix tells them that she is a man and dresses as a man. Li LiYong tells them that he is a woman and dresses as a woman. The three end up sleeping in the same bed. In the morning, the princess realises what had happened. She is worried but when she sees Li LiYong, she knows she has fallen in love with him. On the other hand, Phoenix is now deeply in love with the princess. The three decide to go out that day. They meet a fortuneteller, who is Amour Amour in disguised. He tells them their futures. When the princess and Phoenix look into a bowl of water, the fortuneteller tells them that they have a sisterly path. When Li LiYong and the princess look into the bowl of water, the fortuneteller predicts that they will be husband and wife. Phoenix gets mad and runs away crying, while Li LiYong chases after her to console her. The fortuneteller then warns the princess that she can only be with Li LiYong if they play their roles reversed and that the Unique Destiny Rings are worn. The princess laughs and tells the fortuneteller that she is a man. However, she heeds the warnings. While walking back to the restaurant, imperial guards in disguised bid the princess to return. She runs away but accidentally bumps into the son of the local magistrate. He takes her to court after she punches him. All the imperial guards follow the princess to the court. They beat up the magistrate and dismiss the trial. Li LiYong and Phoenix also show up at the courthouse to free the princess but she is already freed. As the three leave the courthouse, a troop of imperial guards bow their heads to the princess. The princess realises that she can't escape. She tells Li LiYong that he has to listen to his future wife and understand her circumstances. Li LiYong doesn't understand because he still thinks that the princess is a man. Phoenix cries because the princess has to leave. However, the princess will only cry in Li LiYong's arms making Phoenix mad. The princess then bids farewell and leaves.

Back at the restaurant, Li LiYong and Phoenix open the princess' luggage and find a golden robe in it. They mistake the princess to be the emperor because only royalty can wear gold. People pronounce all over Meilong that Phoenix's boyfriend is the emperor. When Amour Amour hears about this, he also leaves. Li LiYong decides to set out to find the emperor and to settle the relationship between the emperor and his sister. On the way to the palace, the royal caravan suddenly encounters a huge windstorm. In the midst of the confusion, the princess runs away. Back at the palace, the Empress Dowager is furious that the princess has disappeared again. The emperor asks his mother to let him go and find his sister. She agrees.

Phoenix is busy with her chores when Zuo returns to challenge her. She is unable to beat him. Zuo is about to slash her when the emperor, impersonating as a man name Mr. Ko, rescues her. He uses the famous Romancing Eye technique and triumphs over Zuo. The emperor and Phoenix fall in love. He decides to stay. Meanwhile, Li LiYong is desperately trying to find the princess. He runs across the grass but falls into some mud and gets stuck. The princess sees Li LiYong and jumps into the field to see him but gets stuck up to her head in the mud too. Li LiYong is only stuck up to his knees. He tells her that he will get them out using his special kungfu. Li LiYong jumps but gets stuck deeper in the mud. Now both of them are stuck in the mud up to their heads. Li LiYong then gets hit by lighting and it starts to rain. After the rain, Li LiYong traps some dew in a leaf for the princess to drink. In the morning, they are rescued by villagers. They have a feast and start singing. In the song, the princess tries to hint to Li LiYong that she is female. She says things like chopsticks come in pairs and their friendship is more than brotherly love. Li LiYong still doesn't understand. In the morning, they go to a frozen lake with a peach blossom tree in the middle. Li LiYong breaks a branch and gives it to her. They decide to depart. Li LiYong says that he will miss her and if she had a sister he would marry her. The princess is overjoyed and so she reveals that she is female. She then kisses him. Li LiYong starts to cry because he realises that he loves her too and that he had just taken his sister's love. They decide to go home.

Meanwhile, the emperor goes gambling. Phoenix finds out and gets upset. He gives the money back but gets hit by a cart. Phoenix then asks for the license number and address of the driver. The emperor gives Phoenix back her bracelet that he had fixed. She now realises that she is really in love. (Li LiYong and Phoenix were both give a jade bracelet so that they could give to their husband/wife.) The emperor and Phoenix hold hands and put it through the sacred fire of Meilong. They are unhurt thus proving that they are truly in love. Li LiYong and the princess return to the restaurant but their reunion with Phoenix and the emperor is cut short. The Empress Dowager has come. She splits up the relationships. The emperor finally has the courage to speak out. He screams out that he will marry Phoenix. The Empress Dowager is rather happy because she now understands her son is ready to be emperor. She accepts the marriage. As for Li LiYong, she disapproves of him. The royal officer lists out Li LiYong's reputation to the Empress Dowager. She takes out the Unique Destiny Rings and gives them to the princess. If the rings do not fall off their fingers then it is true love, if it falls off Li LiYong must leave forever. The princess puts the dragon ring on Li LiYong and puts the phoenix ring on herself. Li LiYong's ring falls off. He looks at the princess for the last time and bids farewell to his sister. Then he leaves.

Time passes. The emperor and Phoenix are married and they are happy. However, the princess is more or less crazy. First she plans to escape from the palace with the emperor and Phoenix. This fails. Then she plans her escape with Phoenix. Again it fails. Finally she plans her escape with her mother. Every day the princess would run outside as if she were waiting for Li LiYong to come for her. One day a prince from another country asks her hand in marriage and the Empress Dowager agrees. Meanwhile, Li LiYong has also gone a little crazy. He would sit at the same table where he and the princess met for the first time. He would also talk to himself. Zi Xia, his past love, shows up and tells him that she has left her husband. She also tells him that she has always loved him. He was always good enough for her. Li LiYong gives her his jade bracelet and some money. Zi Xia asks why he would give her the jade bracelet now. She then leaves. Amour Amour shows up. He tells Li LiYong of a story. A long time ago, a princess saved a divine rabbit's life. After this the rabbit decided to protect the princess. This rabbit was Amour Amour. He tells Li LiYong to go look for the princess and to play their roles in reverse. He leaves. There are several accounts of the identity of Amour Amour. One is that he is a wanderer and the other is that Amour Amour is actually the goddess of matchmaking.

Li LiYong decides to go and free the princess. He stops the wedding caravan only to find that the emperor had freed the princess. Li LiYong goes to the peach blossom tree and finds the princess looking down at the water. She thinks that she is Li LiYong. Since she misses him so much she thinks of herself as Li LiYong. Now Li LiYong understands what Amour Amour has said. He takes out the Unique Destiny Rings. He slides the dragon ring on the princess and the phoenix ring on himself. The rings don't fall off. The two hug. The winter ceases and the flowers bloom. The End.

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