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HK combines rousing adventure with soap opera-ish frame
Lisa A. Adolf | Everett, WA USA | 09/01/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Dr. Wai and the Scripture With No Words is a rousing adventure tale set in pre World War II China. Dr. Wai, known as the King of Adventurers, is a writer and archaeologist in the mold of Indiana Jones, and a renowned finder of missing artifacts. He is also the alter-ego of his creator, Chow Si-Kit, played by Jet Li. Chow Si-Kit is a beleagered writer of serialized adventure tales whose own life is in a tailspin. His wife, Monica (Rosamund Kwan) wants a separation and is going to great lengths to insure the break with her husband.His rotten homelife is intruding upon Si-kit's work. He is suffering from writers block and cannot seem to move the adventures of Dr. Wai forward--risking his livelihood. Fortunately, Chow Si-Kit has friends in the publishing house where he works. Shing (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is an eager young writer who befriends Si-Kit and tries his best to support him in his marital troubles and help break his writer's block. When that effort is unsuccessful, he enlists the aid of Yvonne, a pretty young colleague and together they begin to ghost write the adventure of Dr. Wai and the Scripture With No Words. Shing is represented in the tale by an alter-ego--also named Shing who is sidekick and disciple to Dr. WaiThe Scripture is actually a two fold artifact which has, in the course of time been sundered into its components. The first is a seemingly ordinary wooden box, with an inscribed lid--which can kill and maim the unsuspecting who open it. The second is a scripture scroll which, when joined with the box creates an oracle which can tell the future. Many nefarious and greedy types are looking for the two artifacts for their own ends. Dr Wai has more than one occasion to engage the villains in martial arts battle, providing a showcase for Jet Li's impressive physical prowess.Shing and Yvonne, who are engaged in a budding romance of their own, soon steer the serial into the area of romance, even while Chow Si-Kit is being ever more plagued by his personal life. After a very public argument in front of the entire writing department, Monica falls prey to a freak accident, and Si-Kit is himself injured while trying to rush her to the hospital. A little hospitalization does not long hold up the serial however, as Shing and Yvonne repair to their friend's bedside, simultaneously holding vigil and pushing the story forward. Si-Kit, soured on romance, soon attempts to push his creation firmly back to manly adventure even as he recuperates.The plot of the film within the film lurches forward in a somewhat non-linear way as the "novel by committee" is wrested to and fro between its authors. Ultimately the lines between reality and fiction become less distinct, as a convalescing Monica begins to see her husband in a new light. Coming into his room and finding him asleep and his friends gone, she makes contributions to the novel herself. The dual plots wind down, one to a bittersweet end, the other more hopeful. Jet Li is very appealing in the dual roles of Chow Si-Kit and Dr. Wai "King of Adventurers". Where Chow Si-Kit is a bit of a bumbler and a man victimized by life, Dr. Wai is a capable and fearless in his pursuit of his objective. Takeshi Kaneshiro shines as the two Shings, both stalwart and steadfast in their support of their friends. Rosamund Kwan is the perfect ice princess as Monica, and her alterego, Cammy. Charlie Yeung is excellent as Yvonne and the editor's assistant who is instrumental in bringing the two aspects of the Scripture With No Words together.="
It's about writing not fighting.
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had to respond to the reviewers who complained about the lack of fight scenes. The character played by Jet Li is not a martial artist. He is an author. With writer's block, due to an impending divorce from beautiful Rosamund Kwan. He is contractually obligated to deliver an adventure story but his heart is not in it, and he cannot get started. His assistants get involved and the story-within-a-story begins to take shape. But it also takes on an odd role-playing quality. The characters shift according to who is making up the plot. Jet Li writes himself and his ex (as a traitorous witch) in as the main characters. But then the ex gets ahold of it and twists her character around to reveal herself to be a double agent and loyal ally! The movie is sly about the act the creation, and speaks volumes about the committee thinking that is pervasive in moviemaking. The multiple person generated plotline is a wild litany of train crashes, airplane stunts and other outrageous silliness that just gets progressively more and more far-fetched. Just because Jet Li is involved and the film is not a chop socky wall-to-wall actioner does not speak of a lack of creative intent. This is one of the smartest and most intriguing films of Li's career. A definite must watch."
Kung Fu Comedy
Lisa A. Adolf | 07/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is no hard core Jet Li kicking [BUTT] movie. It's a very amusing comedy of Jet Li's charactor searching for a scroll called the "scriptures with no words" The setting takes on an Indiana Jones era. It's lots of fun, laughter and there's even some romance. Whatever you do don't miss the scene where Jet is disguised as a woman, batting eyelids and all. This is a very funny movie and if judged on the basis of being a comedy is a must-buy for any Jet Li fan."
It's OK to laugh at a Kung Fu Film
Malcolm James Whitehead | Reston, VA United States | 08/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Movie was great! It had my friends and I rolling around on the ground in laughter. Don't expect a hardcore Kung Fu film because this isn't one. But the ridicules fight scenes with impossible moves is just all out fun to watch. To really enjoy this film you have to sit back relax and look at it for how silly it is and not as serious fight film."
George Paschos | Greece | 09/03/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Has nothing to do with Jet Li's usual movies. The plot is silly, just like the fighting scenes. Jet Li acts an Indiana Jones like character. The only reason to buy this movie is to complete the Jet Li's collection that someone might have."