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Tip of the Iceberg
on December 1, 2012
Stephen Chow created an amazing body of work for the Hong Kong market in the 1990s, and very little of it has trickled to the West. Unfortunately, since since smash hit "Kung Fu Hustle", he has been largely paralyzed into inactivity. What a shame, because as a comedian - and he is primarily a comedian, not a martial artist - he rates among the world's best. Slowly we are seeing some of his classics get English subtitled releases.
'Chinese Odyssey 1 & 2' are two back-to-back movies that are the wildest and most surreal of his career, and that's saying a lot! They tell the story of the Monkey King and are done in a style similar to Terry Gilliam in 'Time Bandits'. Off-the-wall humor and sight gags rule the day. But underneath all the buffoonery and make-up there is a great love story and a plot not unlike "Back to the Future'.
If you like Hong Kong cinema and want to see something more than a little different, I highly recommend these two movies. The price is right, and unlike my previous HK version, the subtitles make sense. Non-stop action and comedy, but with a serious side, 'Chinese Odyssey 1 & 2' will entertain you. There is an exceptional ensemble cast, but Stephen Chow steals the day as usual, even when he is disguised as the Monkey King.
I can only hope for even more Chow to be released, such as the 'Fight Back To School' series or 'Forbidden City Cop'. How about 'God of Cookery' or 'From Being With Love'?