Director: Jeff Lau
Starring: Nicolas Tse, Charlene Choi, Chan Po-Lin, Fan Bing Bing
RunTime: 1 hr 43 mins
A Chinese Tall Story tells a little-known tale about the Tang Monk, Tripitaka, before he embarks on his arduous journey to bring the sacred sutras from the west, and achieves deification after successfully negotiating Eight-One Tasks to prove his faith and resolve.
As we see them for the first time, the Tang Monk is leading his three disciples into the city of Shache. No one would know that it is here that the boyishly innocent Tripitaka will meet his greatest challenge.
After a fierce battle, his disciples are captured by the evil Tree Spirits. Tripitaka luckily escapes. Undaunted, he sets off on his own to find a way to save his disciples, only to fall into the hands of the Lizard King and his army of Amazonian imps. Tripitaka is placed in the custody of Meiyan, a young imp who is the personification of ugliness. Meiyan falls in love with him at first sight: not for his flesh – which brings immortality if devoured, but for his passion. So from then on, the love-struck imp stalks Tripitaka every hour of the day. Not only does she make fun of him, she also sets a love trap for him. Unwittingly, Tripitaka falls into the trap and violates the Heavenly Code.
In the ancient and mythical past, not only are spirits plentiful, so are forms of life from unknown sources. Princess is one of them. She is quite a rebel even by today’s standard: resisting a pre-set marriage, and turning herself into an inter-galactic runaway. Like so many before her, this unearthly beauty falls at once for the cool but handsome Tripitaka. Meiyan instinctively senses competition, picks a fight with Xiaoshan but loses. She warns Tripitaka off her, but the Tang Monk will have none of it. Harshly branding Meiyan a love-cheat, Tripitaka decides to side with Xiaoshan instead. Meiyan is deeply hurt. In the meantime, Xiaoshan tries to help the Tang Monk rescue his disciples, but is no match for the Tree Spirits. As her alien army is about to be routed, a brave warrior selflessly throws herself into the fray. It is a brand new Meiyan – an ugly duckling no more. The war is won in spectacular fashion.
After Meiyan risked her life to rescue Tripitaka and his disciples, she gives herself up to be judged by the Temple of Heaven. Tripitaka is torn between passion and righteousness, and is forced to raid the Heavenly Palace for the gallows-bound Meiyan. After an epic and bloody struggle, the two are pardoned and sent back to earth by a benevolent Buddha. There they commence their westward journey with the Tang Monk’s three disciples – Meiyan in the form of a white mare as token punishment – striving to accomplish the Eighty-One Tasks and save the world.
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