The Myth (2005)


Introduction

The Myth (simplified Chinese: 神话; traditional Chinese: 神話; San wa) is a 2005 Hong Kong – Chinese martial arts fantasy-adventure film directed by Stanley Tong, starring Jackie Chan, Tony Leung Ka-fai, Kim Hee-sun and Mallika Sherawat.

Outline

Based during the Qin dynasty, general Meng Yi (Chan) is tasked with escorting Ok-Soo (referred at times as “Concubine Li”) (Kim), a Korean princess, back to China to serve as a concubine for Qin Shi Huang, in an attempt to strengthen diplomatic relationships. Along the journey, a Korean warrior (seemingly her fiancé) attempts to seize her back, but Meng Yi saves her. Meng Yi protects Ok-Soo through their journey back, while Ok-Soo tends to his wounds. In the process, she begins to develop feelings for him but Meng Yi, while apparently harbouring similar feelings for her, steps back, reminding her of her purpose of becoming a concubine in the interests of her people and successfully completes his mission. The Qin emperor becomes critically ill later and sends Meng Yi to find the elixir of immortality, the only thing that can save his life. Before leaving, Meng Yi discreetly confesses his feelings to Ok-Soo, stating “my heart belongs to you forever,” and Ok-Soo vows to await his return. 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 trick 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 (also Chan), is Meng Yi’s reincarnation, and 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 has been seeing in his dreams. Jack also learns that during a mission to the Qin Empire, the Dasar prince brought treasures and women as gifts. In return, the Qin emperor offered him one of his concubines and asked him to choose, but refused when the prince chose his favourite, Ok-soo. Instead, the Qin emperor gave him 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 Samantha, an Indian peasant girl. Samantha brings Jack to see her uncle, a Kalaripayattu (Indian martial art form) 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, and briefly recovers his fighting skills from his life as Meng Yi. 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 Professor Koo, the leader of the syndicate that has been funding Jack and William’s treasure hunt.

After extensive research, Jack and William conclude that the anti-gravity material is a fragment of a meteorite that fell to Earth during the Qin dynasty. They find the location of the Qin emperor’s mausoleum, concealed behind a waterfall. The massive tomb contains the strongest fragment of the meteorite, powerful enough to make the tomb a floating palace. Jack meets Ok-soo and Nangong Yan alive inside the tomb, and they mistake him for Meng Yi. Professor Koo and his men enter and 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 from drowning in mercury. While Jack is escaping from the collapsing tomb, he asks Ok-soo to come with him, but she refuses after realizing he is not Meng Yi and says she will wait for the real Meng Yi forever, believing he still lives. As Koo nears the elixir, Yan grabs onto him as they fall and presumably perish.

Jack is then seen at home with a published copy of The Myth, a book written by him about his adventure and his experiences which he dedicates to William.

Cast

  • Jackie Chan as Jack / General Meng Yi.
  • Kim Hee-sun as Princess Ok-soo.
  • Tony Leung Ka-fai as William.
  • Choi Min-soo as Korean general Choi.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sathyanarayanan G 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).

Production

Theme Song

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.

An alternative version, titled Meili De Shenhua (美麗的神話; Beautiful Myth), was performed in Mandarin by Sun Nan and Han Hong.

The song was reused as the ending theme song for the 2010 television series of the same title. This version was performed in Mandarin by Hu Ge and Bai Bing.

Action Team

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.

Release

Box Office

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.

Home Media

On 04 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.

Television Series

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.

Trivia

  • Jackie Chan fell off one of the horses and could not move his legs for the rest of the day.
    • After a few days, he was reportedly doing fine again.
  • Jackie Chan and Kim Hee-seon sang the film’s theme song “Endless Love”.
    • Chan sang in Mandarin, and Seon sang in Korean.
  • Kim Hee-seon is from South Korea.
    • She learned her Chinese lines by memorizing the sounds.
    • At times, production would change the script a little, but had to keep Hee-seon’s lines about the same, because of her limited Chinese.
  • Jackie Chan was stabbed in the arm while filming a stunt.
  • (At around fifty-six minutes) When Jack is talking on the phone in the car, his contacts display lists “Stanley Tong” as a contact.
    • Stanley Tong was the director of this movie, and he is also credited for numerous behind-the-scene roles.
  • In the outtakes, Jackie Chan fights with his rival, who is on wires, but does not use any himself.
    • He overdid a sweep kick and fell off the scaffold about fifteen feet to the ground onto a mattress.
    • The outtakes show him falling and climbing back up to do the scene again.
  • One of the few films where Jack Chan’s character dies on screen.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Stanley Tong.
  • Producer(s):
    • Bobby Bedi … co-producer: India.
    • Puja Bedi … line producer: India.
    • Jackie Chan … executive producer / producer.
    • Willie Chan … executive producer / producer.
    • Shabuddin Choudhary … Distributor: Indian Tv Rights.
    • Gin Lau … line producer.
    • Kim Wah Lou … line producer (as Lo Kim Wah).
    • Solon So … producer.
    • Sridhar Sreekakula … Producer: North American Edit.
    • Barbie Tung … producer.
    • Buting Yang … executive producer.
    • Albert Yeung … executive producer.
    • Jianzhong Zhang … line producer: Shanghai.
  • Writer(s):
    • Stanley Tong … (screenplay and story).
    • Hui-Ling Wang … (screenplay).
    • Hai-shu Li … (screenplay).
  • Music:
    • Gary Chase.
    • Nathan Wang.
  • Cinematography:
    • Wing-Hang Wong … director of photography.
  • Editor(s):
    • Chi-Wai Yau.
  • Production:
    • JCE Movies (presents).
    • China Film Group Corporation (CFGC) (in association with).
  • Distributor(s):
    • Emperor Motion Pictures (2005) (Hong Kong) (theatrical).
    • Shaw Organisation (2005) (Singapore) (theatrical).
    • United International Pictures (UIP) (2006) (Japan) (theatrical).
    • Viva International Pictures (2005) (Philippines) (theatrical).
    • Vértice Cine (2006) (Spain) (theatrical).
    • Barking Cow Distribution (all media).
    • Barking Cow Media Group (2007) (USA) (all media).
    • Beijing Poly-bona Film Publishing Company (2005) (China) (all media).
    • Dutch FilmWorks (DFW) (2007) (Netherlands) (DVD).
    • Paradise Group (2005) (Russia) (all media).
    • RTL Entertainment (2010) (Netherlands) (TV) (RTL7).
    • SBP (2009) (Argentina) (DVD).
    • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2007) (Canada) (DVD).
    • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2007) (USA) (DVD).
    • Sony Pictures Releasing (2009) (USA) (DVD).
    • Splendid Film (2006) (Germany) (DVD).
    • Star Entertainment (2017) (India) (all media) (Rerun HD ver).
    • Trinity Filmed Entertainment (2014) (UK) (all media).
    • Universal Pictures (2006) (Japan) (DVD).
  • Release Date: 15 September 2005 (Toronto International Film Festival).
  • Rating: 15.
  • Running Time: 122 minutes.
  • Country:
  • Language:

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