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In Mandarin with English & Chinese subtitles
Director: Jeff Lau
Cast: Ronald Cheng, Athena Chu, Gigi Leung, Betty Sun Li, Huang Bo, Sandra Ng, Ada Choi, Wang Xuebing, Eric Tsang, Kenny Bee, Yuen Biao, Yuen Qiu, Yuen Wah, Gillian Chung, Alex Fong, Wu Jing, Xu Jiao, Lam Suet
RunTime: 1 hr 30 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG
Official Website:

Opening Day: 18 March 2010


Bandit Ronald Cheng effortlessly pulls out the magic sword belonging to Fairy Athena Chu, and Fairy Sun Li who lives by love, is drawn as moth to flame by this deja vu-like infatuation. As Sun Li chases after the Ronald Cheng, who just wants to get away from this "rotten peach blossom", the Pandora's Box opens a doorway into another time zone.

Movie Review:

Jackie Chan, Stephen Chow, Jet Li and Angelina Jolie are all starring in this movie…NOT! The tongue-in-cheek opening credits that begins by introducing the big-name stars whom you do not see in the movie just about sets the tone for what to expect- a light-hearted whimsical comedy that has but one purpose, to make you LOL. And surprise, surprise, for the most part, writer/director Jeff Lau’s new film does just that.

"Just Another Pandora’s Box" follows in the vein of Jeff Lau’s classic 90s hit comedies like "The Eagle Shooting Heroes", "A Chinese Odyssey" and its sequel with his unique brand of ‘mo lei tau comedy- aka nonsense comedy. Like his earlier films, Lau’s latest combines slapstick humour with romance to create a ridiculous but ridiculously funny farce featuring a whole bevy of stars.

The farce begins in the land of the "Journey to the West" where a bandit (Ronald Cheng) pursued relentless by a fairy (Sun Li) hopelessly in love with him stumbles upon the Pandora’s Box, basically a time-travel device and in Jeff Lau’s case, a movie-switching instrument. The Box transports Cheng to the land of Red Cliff (yes, the John Woo movie) where he now turns into General Zhao Zilong (played by Hu Jun in the original who incidentally stars in this movie) and finds himself right smack in the battle between Zhou Yu (Huang Bo)/Zhuge Liang (Eric Tsang) and Cao Cao.

As with most spoofs, this one extracts familiar scenes and situations in "Red Cliff" to tell its story- beginning with Zhao Zilong’s brave fight to save Liu Bei’s son, to Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang’s string duet, to Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang’s defeat of Cao Cao both on land and at sea (and certainly, a cursory knowledge of the John Woo movie is necessary to appreciate the insider jokes here).

To say any more about each of the scenes would spoil how surprisingly inspired and downright hilarious Jeff Lau’s reinterpretation is- but for the sake of illustration, let’s just take how Jeff Lau’s Cao Cao comes up with the ingenious idea of how to help his soldiers overcome seasickness. In order to acclimatise his frequent horse-riding group of Northern soldiers to the rocking of their boats at sea, he tells his general (Patrick Tam) to task his soldiers to ride their horses sideways and skip from side to side as they walk (instead of the forwards/backwards horse-rocking the soldiers are used to).

Silly though it may be, there’s no doubt that like many other similarly zany sequences in the movie, it is generous fun and genuinely funny. That’s not to say that "Just Another Pandora’s Box" is consistently 'he-he-ha-ha' throughout- like most, if not all, spoofs, this one also has its fair share of misses, such as the utterly dreary appearance by one Kung Fu Panda (the one from the DreamWorks animation). The movie also suffers from a thinner than thin plot, which Jeff Lau’s frenetic pacing makes up for successfully until the haphazard ending.

Yet for its shortcomings, this madcap spoof is still an enormously entertaining delight- part of which also derives from the all-star cameos that Jeff Lau has assembled for this movie, including Yuen Qiu, Yuen Wah, Lam Tse Chung, Fan Siu Wong, Ada Choi, Kenny Bee and Sandra Ng. Seeing these familiar faces share the big screen is a welcome hark-back to those all-star Hong Kong comedies that used to be a staple in the past. And that is exactly what "Just Another Pandora’s Box" is- classic 'mo lei tau' entertainment that demands only that you have at least one funny bone in you.

Movie Rating:

(This "Red Cliff" spoof is chock full of ridiculous jokes, but that’s also why it’s ridiculously funny)

Review by Gabriel Chong


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