Wu yen

Poster for the movie "Wu yen"

Wu yen (2001)

123 min - Fantasy, Comedy - 18 January 2001
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Lost in the woods, the Emperor Qi (Anita Mui) stumbles across local chief Wu Yen (Sammi Cheng), his predestined bride, only to accidentally free a promiscuous fox fairy (Cecilia Cheung) who promptly falls in love with both of them, changing between man and woman to clumsily woo each, setting the scene for a constantly shifting triangle with the emperor torn between both the fox fairy and Wu Yen and the fox fairy after whichever one will agree to marry her/him first.

Director:  Johnnie To, Wai Ka-Fai
Writers:  Wai Ka-Fai, Yau Nai-Hoi, Ben Wong

Storyline

Lost in the woods, the Emperor Qi (Anita Mui) stumbles across local chief Wu Yen (Sammi Cheng), his predestined bride, only to accidentally free a promiscuous fox fairy (Cecilia Cheung) who promptly falls in love with both of them, changing between man and woman to clumsily woo each, setting the scene for a constantly shifting triangle with the emperor torn between both the fox fairy and Wu Yen and the fox fairy after whichever one will agree to marry her/him first.


Collections: Johnnie To, Wai Ka-Fai

Genres: Fantasy, Comedy

Details

Official Website: 
Country:   Hong Kong
Language:  Cantonese
Release Date:  18 January 2001

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:  2 h 03 min

A female outlaw warrior Wu Yen and a Fairy Enchantress who moves between male and female personas vie for the affections of the Emperor Qi.

The Fairy Enchantress in her male incarnation loves Wu Yen. Jealous that Wu Yen and the Emperor are fated to be married, she attempts to woo the latter in order to win the former. Wu Yen, apprised of their predestined marriage, struggles to win his love. Farcical palace intrigues (involving much disguise switching and imprisoning) are interrupted when the Qi Kingdom is attacked, twice. This is an ultra-high speed verbal comedy that relies on the quality of the writing, as well as the performances by the three principles. Verbal delivery is Stephen Chiau speed, hurtling along from line to line with barely a gap for breath. Anita Mui can handle the challenge brilliantly. She’s hilarious, furiously energetic, and loose, all at once. Sammi Cheng, a reigning Cantopop diva of the most glitteringly elegant persuasion, confirms that she is also a real actress. It stakes out new ground for Cheng, showing off aspects of her talent that we haven’t yet had occasion to admire. Despite Wu Yen’s obvious nods to the Chinese New Year film, the screenplay is far from complacent about its participation in that genre. A complex structural underpinning reveals itself most clearly in the radically anarchic-gender mixing at play in the story. But lines like Wu Yen’s eloquent denunciation of romance (“Love is destruction and sabotage, motivated by self interest and greed, so that it leads to hatred, revenge, and war”) point towards a more troubling, less playful conclusion.

Shelly Kraicer