Jeffrey Lau's epic, mythological fantasy adventure A Chinese Tall Story unfurls in the distant past, when a small band of travelers - monk Tripitaka (Nicholas Tse) and his (human) companions Monkey King (Chen Bo-lin), Piggy (Kenny Kwan) and Sandy (Steven Cheung) - embark on a lengthy, danger-filled quest through the Himalayan foothills to retrieve some Buddhist scriptures. En route, they encounter all manner of obstacles, such as being sabotaged by The Tree Demon and attacked by a band of cannibalistic lizard men. In a more realistic episode, Tripitaka must grapple with the unrequited love that a homely outcast, Yue Meiyan (Charlene Choi) feels for him; he then ultimately winds up in the midst of an elfin storybook village where he encounters an empathetic waylaid princess (Fan Bingbing). Throughout, director Lau plays aggressively with the film form, packing in everything from witty puns to cinematic allusions to postmodern cultural asides.
~ Nathan Southern, All Movie Guide