Wu Yen
Hong Kong 2001
Directed by Johnnie To.


Emperor Qi (Anita Mui, cross dressing as a man) is fated to marry the beautiful chief Wu Yen (Sammi Cheng). But a fox fairy (Cecilia Cheung) comes between them, causing an ugly facial blemish to appear on Wu Yen's face, repulsing the shallow Emperor. The fairy disguises as a man to seduce Wu Yen, and fails. So she disguises as a woman to seduce the Emperor, succeeding more readily. It becomes a test to Wu Yen's loyalty and steadfastness to stay by the Emperors side no matter what. This should have been an entertaining film, but unfortunately all of the dialogue is spoken at the same tone, a sort of continuous shouting, nasal whine. It passed my eardrums completely, stabbing directly into the brain. I've never had a more splitting headache after watching a HK movie, and it just keeps going on and on and on. I love Anita Mui, but not here. Cecilia Cheung has her moments, this isn't one of them. Only Sammi Cheng remains watchable throughout the story. Sammi, beautiful costumes, and playful shadow puppetry help lift this shoulda-been delightful film to a level just above intolerable.

Rating: Marginally Recommended (Marginally Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on May 16, 2004.


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