A Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella (HK 1995)

Rating: **
Review Date: 5/6/18
Director: Jeffrey Lau
Cast: Stephen Chow, Athena Chu, Ada Choi, cameos by Ng Man Tat, Karen Mok, Lam Kit Ying

Picking up right where "Pandora's Box" left off, Joker (Stephen Chow) meets an immortal named Xixia (Athena Chu) at the entrance of the spider web cave. She takes Pandora's Box away from Joker, and the entire film revolves around him trying to get it back so that he can rescue his true love, Jing Jing (Karen Mok). Or is she? Love is a tricky beast, and Xixia might have stolen Joker's heart, even if he doesn't realize it. Things get even more complicated when Joker is coerced into marrying Bull King's sister, while Bull King decides to marry Xixia. Until Bull King's wife (Ada Choi) shows up to kill Xixia and take Joker for herself. And then everyone's bodies get swapped, which adds so much confusion that it's not even worth trying to keep up with the subtitles. Monkey King finally makes his grand entrance at the end of the film when he agrees to give up all earthly desires and follow Buddha, and an epic battle takes place between him and Bull King.

Unfortunately, this film is even more inane and silly than the first one, and even assaults the audience with a truly awful musical number. On the plus side, a bright-eyed Athena Chu is immensely charming, and both her disarming smile and playful pout can melt even the coldest of hearts. Whereas the frenetic action saved the first film from being a total waste, it doesn't fare so well here. The stuntwork is more gimmicky and less ground-based, and the overreaching visual effects are mostly uninteresting. Stephen Chow is barely recognizable in his monkey makeup, which is impressively creepy. By the end of the film, Monkey King and his friends finally get back to their fabled "Journey To The West", although I'd pretty much checked out by then. I found the film a chore to watch and not worth the effort.