Synopsis by Josh Ralske
Chinese Odyssey 2002, produced by Wong Kar-Wai, is writer-director Jeff Lau's energetic parody of Chinese kung fu epics, with a bit of Shakespeare thrown in. Chang Chen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) plays the Emperor, who, desperate for the free-spirited life of a wanderer, tries to escape from the royal palace with his sister, the Princess (Faye Wong, little seen since starring in Wong's Chungking Express). He's caught and returned to his angry mother by the royal guards, but the Princess, disguised as a man, manages to escape. Meanwhile, King Bully (Tony Leung, who also starred in Chungking Express) has returned to his hometown, where he is widely despised for his bullying ways, to run a restaurant with his tomboy sister, Phoenix (Vicki Zhao of Shaolin Soccer). They have a very close relationship. In fact, King Bully mistakenly believes that he can read his sister's mind. When the Princess arrives in town, King Bully finds himself drawn to her, but, believing she's a man, decides that his attraction is some kind of empathy with Phoenix. King Bully and the Princess spend a night eating and drinking together. In the morning, the Princess leaves. King Bully, determined that the Princess will marry Phoenix, vows to bring the charismatic young "man" back. She does return, but soon realizes that the royal guards are following her. Meanwhile, the Emperor convinces his mother to let him leave the palace to go look for the Princess. By the time he gets to town, the Princess has been carted off by the royal guards, with King Bully in hot pursuit. He's immediately attracted to Phoenix. More confusion ensues. Chinese Odyssey 2002 had its U.S. premiere at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival. The film was awarded Best Film, and Faye Wong Best Actress, by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society.