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A Chinese Odyssey Part 2: Cinderella
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Stephen Chow as the Monkey King
Chinese: 西遊記 II 仙履奇緣
Director: Jeff Lau Chun-Wai
Action: Ching Siu-Tung
Cast: Stephen Chow Sing-Chi, Ng Man-Tat, Athena Chu Yun, Ada Choi Siu-Fun, Law Kar-Ying, Yammie Nam Kit-Ying, Karen Mok Man-Wai, Kong Yeuk, Jeff Lau Chun-Wai, Luk Su-Ming, Ng Yuk-Kan
The Skinny: Stephen Chow turns in his finest performance in the second Monkey King epic, which is uneven (like most Jeff Lau films) but also hilarious and even affecting.
When we last left Joker (Stephen Chow), he’d just used the Pandora’s Box to go back in time five hundred years, finding himself in the company of Zixia the immortal (Athena Chu). Zixia steals the box from Joker and then makes his life hell by playing “Cybil” with him; she switches personalities between herself and her sister, who hates Zixia. As if that weren't bad enough, Joker wants to go back to the future to find his wife (Karen Mok, who he married in Part 1), because bad things were happening before he time jumped. But no go. He’s stuck with Zixia until he runs into all sorts of strange and weird characters including his old master, the Longevity Monk (Law Kar-Ying). Now he can regain his Monkey King form and complete his quest, except he must cast off all human desire, which is harder than it sounds when Athena Chu is throwing herself at you.
Jeff Lau's second Monkey King film drags in the middle thanks to the usual amounts of wacky shtick, but it’s better than the first because the plot reaches fruition and the romance takes on emotional resonance, something which most Stephen Chow movies tend to lack. The parodies are quite good, too, especially the Wong Kar-Wai jokes which pop up midway through. Stephen Chow turns in probably his best performance ever with this film, managing to be both funny and affecting. Overall, this is a satisfactory end to the Chinese Odyssey two-parter, and a good sign that Stephen Chow will only improve as time goes on. (Kozo 1995)