A Chinese Odyssey Part One - Pandora's Box (1995)
Reviewed by: pjshimmer on 2002-01-17
Summary: The worst method of spending 2 hours
Compared to Royal Tramp, King of Beggar and the rest of Chow's period pieces from early 90s, this movie is a total joke. I spent an entire fourty-five minutes watching absolutely nothing. The story developed an inch during the first hour, and finally started moving during the last half.

What (else) really sucks about this film is that it seems to borrow most, if not all, of its music from others. Most notable is transferred from ASHES OF TIME, which just ruined my mood (once again). The slow-moving, traditional (flute) music reminded me of the 60s movies about the Chinese revolution wars. What's more, they reminded me of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Good thing I can't say this movie borrowed music from CTHD (though it seems to have). Good plagerized music, but none original.

The second half contains some pretty good stuff, actually. The effects, for example, isn't all that chessy. The story became more dramatic and everybody more involving. Still, I don't know what it is that made me dispise its diversion from Journey to the West. It's okay to add/change plotlines, but I saw it as a disaster here.

The action is not good either. In fact, it's only comparable to the mediocre, entirely wire-based Semi Gods Demi Devils (Brigitte Lin, Gong Li). I felt the effects and fighting from the Journey to West TV series were more authentic, whereas the fights in this film are completely like those in a wuxia movie (Butterfly Sword), rather than like a fantasy folklore.

For comedy, it's got Stephen Chow's pants falling & people beating the crap out of Chow's balls (& setting it on fire?), just to name a few. Most of the attempts were painfully unfunny to me. However, I discovered that quantity works just as well as quality. When people continued to beat Chow's balls for long enough, it actually became more & more funny. Still, this is NOT a funny movie.

Overall, I was amazed at how bad and disappointing this movie is: Stephen Chow's worst movie I've ever seen so far. He just doesn't work as a HK version of the mainland folklore-based monkey king.

Reviewer Score: 2