|Stephen Chow, Wang Zhonglei and Chrissie Chau promote JOURNEY TO THE WEST|
courtesy of mingpao.com
Stephen Chow Sing Chi has not released a new film in 4 years. The long awaited fantasy comedy JOURNEY TO THE WEST (SAI YAU GONG MOR PIN) will be released on February 7. Yesterday a media advanced screening was held.
Although the film was 1 hour and 50 minutes long and Sing Yeh only directed and not starred, the film did not have a dull moment. However it had no pleasant surprise either; the comedy that viewers wanted to see the most was just rotten gag, the film did not have any gut busting laugh. The film's selling point all along, special effect scenes were neither plenty nor exciting. They included the giant fish demon transforming into an octopus to kill people, the pig demon transforming into a wild boar, and Sun Wukong transforming into a gorilla and Buddha.
JOURNEY TO THE WEST's simple story was about the young Xuan Zang, who finally became the Venerable Monk Tang. With the assistance of exorcist Shu Qi he tamed the water demon, the pig demon and the king of demon kings and turned them into his disciples with love; Venerable Monk Tang experienced the truth of Great Love from these experience and Shu Qi's death, Chow Sing Chi style comedy was added in between.
Sun Wukong's crown originally was the free flying ring that Shu Qi used to tame demons. After turning it into a ring, Shu Qi gave it to Wen Zhang as a gift of lifelong companionship after falling for him at first sight. Although Shu Qi was stuck on him, Wen Zhang did not accept her; finally when Shu Qi died for him, he realized that he fell for Shu Qi long ago. Wen Zhang only said, "I love you for a thousand years, ten thousand years" just like the classic dialogue from CHINESE ODYSSEY (SAI YA UGEI), but no new classic line appeared.
The lonely gentleman Show Luo (Law Chi Cheung) and Shu Qi's sister Chrissie Chau Sau Na were actually guest stars. Piggy only had two shots. He sat on the sedan chair and never touched the ground. For comedy four old fairies carried him on the sedan. Even when he fought with Sun Wukong he only launched swords from his seat. Sing Yeh did not properly use Sister Na's sexiness, only her slim waist in a seductive dance. The dance scene with Wen Zhang and Sister Na indeed was very funny.
As for the cast, everyone gave outstanding performance. Each character personality left a deep impression. Wen Zhang and Huang Bo were the best. Shu Qi was just right as the powerful but innocent woman.
Sing Yeh's colleagues often criticized him for being hard to deal with. Yesterday he replied, "Actually I don't know how am I over these years, I did things according to my own principles. Anything bad of course needs improvement, human cannot possibly be perfect all the time. I have been in show business for 30 years, the principle that never changed was work more, talk less." As for outside depiction of him as cold, merciless and hard to work with, Sing Yeh said, "When you ask me, I am not going to answer. I don't want to say anything either! Ask them!"
Sing Yeh yesterday saw Chau Sau Na and said, "She is thinner!" Chau Sau Na explained that she trimmed her belly in advance for the celebration. "The box office number will definitely be huge, so I lost the belly in advance. I prepare to pig out at the celebration, after the Lunar New Year it will be one meal after another."