The Myth (film)
|Directed by||Stanley Tong|
|Produced by||Jackie Chan
|Written by||Stanley Tong
Tony Leung Ka-fai
|Music by||Wong Chung-Yin
|Edited by||Yau Chi-Wai|
|Distributed by||JCE Movies Limited|
|Running time||118 minutes|
During the Qin Dynasty, General Meng Yi is tasked with escorting the Korean princess Ok-soo back to China to marry the Qin emperor. Along the journey, a Korean warrior attempts to seize her back but Meng Yi saves her. Ok-soo falls in love with Meng Yi and displays her affections for him openly, but Meng keeps his honour by rejecting her and successfully completing his mission. The Qin emperor becomes critically ill later and he sends Meng Yi to find the elixir of immortality, the only thing that can save his life. The guards escorting the elixir are ambushed by rebels on the orders of the treacherous prince and chancellor. Meng Yi hands over the elixir to his deputy Nangong Yan before dying in the ensuing battle. Although Nangong Yan manages to bring the elixir to the emperor, the prince and chancellor wanted Nangong Yan and Ok-soo to test the validity of the elixir and force them to consume the elixir, condemning them to imprisonment in the Qin emperor's mausoleum for eternity.
In the present-day, Jack, an archaeologist, is the reincarnation of Meng Yi, as he often dreams about his past life. One day, his friend William invites him on a quest to find a rare material that can create a field of zero gravity. They travel to a floating tomb of a Dasar Prince in India, where Jack discovers a painting of the princess he's been seeing in his dreams. Jack also learns that in an ancient mission to Qin China, the Prince brought treasures and women, and the Emperor in exchange gave him one of his concubines, but reneged when the Prince chose his favourite, Ok-soo; in apology, the Prince received instead a painting of Ok-soo and the Qin Star Gem. William removes a strange black rock from a feline statue, and accidentally collapses the zero gravity field holding up the tomb, resulting in its destruction. William manages to escape but Jack leaps off a cliff and falls into a river. He loses consciousness and drifts along with the current until he is saved by an Indian girl named Samantha. Samantha brings Jack to see her uncle, a Kalaripayattu guru, who tells Jack to take the sword he found and fight with one of his students. During the fight, Jack has a recollection of a duel he had with the Dasar Prince in his past life, after which the two warriors exchanged swords. Samantha's uncle enlightens Jack about his past and future, and Jack succeeds in returning home safely and he delivers the sword to the National Museum of China as a national treasure. His action angered the leader of the secret organisation that has been funding Jack and William's treasure hunt, Professor Koo, a "tomb raider" who is an old acquaintance of them.
After extensive research, Jack and William conclude that the anti-gravity material is actually a fragment of a meteorite that fell to Earth during the Qin Dynasty. They find the exact location of the Qin emperor's mausoleum, concealed behind a waterfall. The massive tomb contains the strongest fragment of the meteorite, which is powerful enough to make the tomb become a floating palace. Jack meets Ok-soo and Nangong Yan inside the tomb and they mistake him for Meng Yi. Just then, a group of intruders led by Professor Koo enters the tomb and they attempt to seize the immortality elixir, leading to an aerial fight between both parties. William accidentally breaks the balance of the field after removing a piece of the meteorite and causes the tomb to collapse on itself, and dies after drowning in mercury. Jack escapes from the collapsing tomb, asking Ok-soo to come with him, but she refuses after realising that Jack is not Meng Yi, saying that she will wait for real Meng Yi forever because she believes that he still lives.
At the film's end, Jack is seen back home with a published copy of a book he wrote about the whole adventure and his experiences titled "The Myth", which he dedicates to William.
- Jackie Chan as Jack / Meng Yi
- Kim Hee-sun as Princess Ok-Soo
- Tony Leung Ka-fai as William
- Mallika Sherawat as Samantha
- Patrick Tam as General Xu Gui
- Shao Bing as Nangong Yan
- Ken Lo as Dragon
- Yu Rongguang as rebel general Zhao Kuang
- Ken Wong as rebel general Meng Jie
- Jin Song as rebel general Jin Song
- Hayama Go as Tiger
- Chan Sek as Cheetah
- He Jun as Phoenix
- Park Hyun Jin as Eagle
- Choi Min-Soo as Korean general Choi
- Yao Weixing as Korean general Shen
- Maggie Lau as Maggie
- Yuen Tak as Dasar monk
- Sun Zhou as Professor Koo
- Leon Head as Dr Smith
- Lian Shuliang as Zhao Gao
- Chen Weiguo as Li Si
- Zhang Yiqun as Huhai
- Lee Hok-Tung as the Xi'an museum curator
- Govindan Kutty Nair Sathyanarayanan as Dasar prince
- Ram Gopal Bajaj as Dasar martial arts schoolmaster
- Sudhanshu Pandey as Dasar temple guard captain
- Peter Spurrier as Dr Smith's researcher
- Ng Kong as General Choi's aide
- Jon Foo (extra) (uncredited)
The Myth was released in Hong Kong on 23 September 2005, and earned a strong HK$6,230,000 in its first three days. It ended its run with HK$17 million, making it the third highest-grossing domestic release in Hong Kong that year, and overseas for a worldwide total of ¥120 million.
The movie received mostly positive reviews. Styna Chyn, from filmtreat, wrote:
"Even though Jackie Chan did not direct “The Myth,” (Stanley Tong), he did produce it; and his creative input echoes throughout this genre-bending action film. Shot in China, Hong Kong, and Hampi, India, “The Myth” is a comedy of epic proportions. Combining historical fantasy, martial arts, and science-fiction, Tong’s film follows archaeologist Jack (Jackie Chan) and scientist William (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) on their adventures in investigating the veracity of a myth involving immortality, levitation, and a Korean princess-turned-concubine for Emperor Qin towards the end of the Qin Dynasty."
David Cornelius, from efilmcritic, gave the film 4 out of 5 stars and wrote:
"Once again, it’s time to lament that while Jackie Chan has spent the past few years churning out mostly mediocre-or-worse flops like “Around the World in 80 Days” or those damn “Rush Hour” sequels in Hollywood, he’s also spent the same time flying back home every now and then to make some darn-good-or-better flicks that, sadly, remain mostly unseen Stateside because they’ve been unceremoniously dumped onto DVD by the studios that pick up the rights to them but then never really bother to do anything about it."
Jim Hemphill, from Reel Films Reviews, gave the film 4 out of 5 stars and wrote a positive review:
"Jackie Chan's The Myth is enjoyable but second-rate Jackie Chan, an action film that's completely satisfying on every level except when compared to the star's own best work. Chan has, in some ways, become a victim of his own excellence: the astonishing stunt work and action choreography of his peak years (the 1980s period of the Police Story and Project A films) have set up expectations that no performer could continue to live up to, certainly not after moving into middle age. Viewers weaned on Chan's classics will undoubtedly find The Myth to be Jackie-lite, a slightly slowed-down version of his usual acrobatics. Yet the film does contain a few superb set pieces reminiscent of vintage Chan, and director Stanley Tong's opulent visual style makes it a feast for the eyes—and the bottom line is that half-speed Jackie Chan is still more dynamic than just about any other action hero."
However, in Variety Magazine, Robert Koehler wrote a generally negative review of the film:
"Resembling a story session where many ideas are brainstormed and few stick, The Myth messily reps Jackie Chan in epic mode as a contempo archaeologist drawn into a plot to plunder the treasure of the Qin Dynasty's first emperor. As part of a movement in H.K. cinema to return to the ambitious movies of yore, helmer Stanley Tong's multi-period adventure flirts with considerable entertainment on one hand and near self-destruction on the other. Whether Chan's star power will pull in enough international bizbiz is doubtful, though ancillary should flex muscles in most territories."
David Nusair, writing for Reel Film Reviews from the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, was even less impressed:
"That The Myth eventually turns into an almost interminable experience is a shame, given the light-hearted and genuinely entertaining vibe of the film's opening hour...Fortunately, The Myth contains several expectedly impressive action sequences – with a fight set within a rat paper factory an obvious highlight – although it's not long before such moments wear out their welcome. This is particularly true of an unbelievably tedious plot development towards the end, which finds all of the film's central characters forced to duke it out inside some kind of an infinite, gravity-defying mausoleum (!) Chan is reportedly looking to get away from some of the sillier films he's been churning out as of late, but The Myth certainly does not mark a step in the right direction".
On 4 May 2009, the DVD was released in Cine Asia in the United Kingdom in Region 2. Another version, including "An Introduction to Cine Asia Featurette", was released later in the United Kingdom on 28 February 2011.
The theme song for the film, titled Wujin De Ai (無盡的愛; Endless Love) was performed in both Mandarin and Korean by Jackie Chan and Kim Hee-sun. Chan's stanzas were all sung in Mandarin, while Kim's solo stanzas were sung in Korean. However, the duets were all sung in Mandarin.
The Kalaripayattu martial arts were performed by experts from C. V. N. Kalari school, led by Sunil Kumar Gurukkal, and based in the town of Nadakkavu, Calicut in the state of Kerala, India. The list of stunt performers includes: John Foo, Wu Gang, Han Kwan Hua, Lee in Seob, Ken Lo, Park Hyun Jin and William Dewsbury.
On 10 January 2010, a 50 episodes television series, titled The Myth, was broadcast on CCTV-8 in China. Jackie Chan was the producer for the series while Stanley Tong was the creative director. The television series had a storyline that is different from the film.
- "The Myth". Film Threat. 29 November 2005. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "Virupaksha Temple | Hampi. India!". Hampi.in. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "Movie Review – Myth, The". eFilmCritic. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- [dead link]
- Koehler, Robert (20 September 2005). "The Myth Movie Review". Variety.
- "2005 TIFF Update No. 8 – Reviews by David Nusair". Reelfilm.com. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "TV version of 'The Myth' aired on CCTV". China.org.cn. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
- Official site[dead link]
- The Myth at the Internet Movie Database
- The Myth at AllMovie
- The Myth at Rotten Tomatoes
- Introduction on Jackie Chan's official website
- Behind the scenes and news timeline