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Movie::The Adventure of the King

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Chinese Film Title: 龍鳳
Director: Chung Shu Kai
English Film Title: The Adventure of the King Casting: Richie Ren, Barbie Hsu
Showing Date: 16/09/2010

It is said that the young Zhu Yuan-Zhao, called Emperor Zhengde during the era of the same name during the Ming Dynasty, was given to great indulgence. He needed to be entertained at some point during every day, otherwise he would become depressed and unable to perform his civic duties. Concerned only for his happiness, his mother the Empress Dowager ordered the construction of a mock "commoner's street" within the confines of the palace purely for his amusement.

One day, the emperor returns to this pretend street, filled with officials from both civil and military ranks, each playing such roles as street vendors, city dwellers, traveling entertainers, and the like, all of them very much worried that the boy would not enjoy himself. As usual, the young monarch was looking forward to the little excursion, but hadn't counted on the weird and obnoxious Princess Chang Ci also coming along. With no real choice in the matter, he has to just accept it and the two go into the street together.

Chang Ci enjoys herself thoroughly on the exceptionally bustling street, very much at the expense of the officers and officials in costume. Zhengde, on the other hand, finds himself completely bored and, seeing this, the Marshall of the charade arranges for a vigilante capture a crook. The struggle between hero and villain is exciting and enough to get the Emperor to let out a little smile. Seeing him so pleased, the Marshall of the event tries to compound the small victory by having a band play up the scene, but that effort is immediately brought to a halt by Zhengde himself.

It turns out that he had lost interest in these kinds of charades long ago, having seen and been disappointed in them many times before. Moreover, this particular performance was poorly performed, making the emperor decide to throw the Marshall, the attending historian, the vigilante, even a physician and the other performers in prison together.

Within the palace, the Prince of Ningxia is kneeling before the Empress Dowager and before long, Zhengde himself is brought in. She tells him that she plans to arrange his marriage, something that he is obviously against, but also something that he has no power to refuse. The Prince tries to help her convince Zhengde, which worsens the matter. And when the young man says that he just wants to go about as a commoner, she is quick to put an end to his fantasies. Meanwhile, we can see that the Prince actually has evil intentions in mind, as he has already been eyeing the throne for some time.

The eligible wives on offer are brought before the door for the Emperor to choose from. Again, with no say in the matter, he is obliged to look them over one by one, only to find that each and every one of them is hideously ugly, causing him to break out in a cold sweat.

At the jail, the recently imprisoned group of officials from the street performance while away their boredom with various games when the Duchess comes for a visit, bringing a cloaked figure with her. They are all elated to see her and plead with her to have the Emperor release them, to which she responds that he is already there. They are confounded until the cloaked figure removes his hood to reveal him standing before them.
Having been scared half to death by the sight of those ugly women and terrified by the prospect of spending the rest of his life in the palace, Zhengde had decided to find these people to help him escape to the outside and have some fun. With the imposing presence of the Emperor before them, the underlings can but only follow his words and then help him escape that very night.

The Prince is having tea in his palace residence when his old adviser Ji comes to inform him that the Emperor has escaped. He is initially alarmed that his original plan to secretly murder Zhengde while in the palace and usurp the throne is now impossible, but then realizes that killing him outside the palace would be just as good away to make him disappear, whereupon he and Ji begin scheming to make it happen.

The village of Meilong in Jiangnan province is adorned with the colors of Spring. The streets are bustling with people coming and going. Finally seeing this wondrous and prosperous scene of real people before them, the Emperor and his retinue fill with elation and wander around. Then, seeing a crowd of locals gathered at a gambling house, he takes his companions to have a look as well. It turns out that the gambling house was opened by none other than the Zhu Zhi-Shan, the famous poet. Zhi-Shan's friends Tang Bo-Hu and Wen Zheng-Ming are also there having a good time. The more he watches, the more Zhengde wants to join and, taking up all his silver pieces, goes in to gamble. But Zhu Zhi-Shan and another friend Xu Chang-Gu cheat and con the young Emperor, soaking them for everything they have. And just when they start to figure out what happened, officers and soldiers arrive, sending everyone scattering.

Hungry and without a penny or a scrap of food between them, the Emperor and his people have lost their former stature. Just when they can't stand any more, a beggar comes along with news: a "chicken mountain" has been erected in front of a temple; whoever can successfully climb to the top and bring down the "chicken head" will become the "head chicken" and leader of the town's beggars, entitled to support from all the other beggars for a year. That includes getting the best leftover foods and juices, the most intact straw sleeping mat, and of course the prestige and envy of everyone else.

After learning that the problem of having no food can so simply be solved, they all get excited and rush off to the temple straight away.

A wave of beggars surges toward the temple, where before them stands the magnificent sight of the "chicken mountain", made from a huge stack of "beggar's chicken" (chicken and rice, specially prepared and wrapped in leaves). The bang of a firecracker marks the start of the competition and everyone rushes forth, climbing the mound, trying to reach the goal at the top. Naturally not wanting to be outdone, Zhengde uses the help of his underlings and makes his way up. The Emperor fights with the beggars for the head. In the midst of the struggle, the Marshall mistakes someone else for him and rescuing and rushing that person away from the scene. Once the real Emperor frees himself from the fight, he suddenly realizes that he has forgotten both his identity and why he was there in the first place.

Without the help of his people, Zhengde is completely destitute. Without his memory, he has no idea of his status and scratches out an existence begging in the street day after day. One day, his begging brings him across the warm-hearted Miss Feng, who takes him under her care at The Dragon and Phoenix Inn, where he becomes the head waiter and receives from her the nickname, "Little Dragon".

Meanwhile, the Marshall and the others are thrown into a frenzy over having lost the Emperor and determine to find and rescue him.

The rest of the workers at the Inn are slackers. There is the pompous Worm, the gluttonous Piggy, and a few others, all with bad habits, poor attitudes, and no sense of responsibility. Feng has lost all hope in this rowdy bunch and it's no surprise, since it is due to them that business at the Inn has been slowly declining. Though seemingly an idiot himself, Zhengde is very nice to Feng and tells her that he himself has original ideas for dishes that can be used at the Inn. She doesn't believe him, of course, and so he starts to show her.

It turns out that during his time in the palace tasting the best foods on offer, Zhengde had studied quite a lot of culinary art, so that when he begins to show this talent, everyone immediately take notice. Moreover, his cooking starts to improve business at the restaurant. Feng starts to think differently of him as well, and the two grow closer.

But good times never last, and soon a rival restaurant, opened by a man calling himself Uncle Sanders, pops up across the street. It's called Kendeqi Inn and is so popular that there are already hundreds around the country. He tries to make Feng get with the program, closing her establishment to join with his. She of course refuses and is supported by "Little Dragon" when she challenges her rival to a showdown.

Zhu Zhi-Shan running from his creditors, flees to the Inn, but it just so happens that his pursuer Dumbo has coincidentally come to the same place to recruit one of the workers there, his friend Whitey, to help him find Zhi-Shan, who now has no choice but to hide out right there.

In the process of finding out the terms of competition from Kendeqi, Worm discovers that they have prepared a menu exactly the same as Dragon and Phoenix's own secret, new menu. This alarms everyone, and they begin to suspect a traitor in their midst. Feng enlists Little Dragon to help her catch this traitor, and that evening all the employees are there, each one suspecting the other. After a thorough investigation, however, they uncover a suspicious character, none other than Zhu Zhi-Shan, still hiding out.

Seeing himself about to be caught, Zhi-Shan voluntarily gives up the official jade seal that the Emperor had earlier lost. Now recognizing Zhengde for who he really is, everyone kowtows, with not a single person failing to pay proper respect. Coming to his senses, Zhengde suddenly realizes that on the day of the challenge, he had accidentally sent his new menu over to the enemy in place of their terms of challenge. Relieved that the Emperor still doesn't know his own identity, they all breathe a sigh of relief and start preparing for the competition.

During an amazing showdown Feng and Little Dragon combine their efforts to defeat Uncle Sanders and Kendeqi Inn.

Business improves at the Dragon and Phoenix Inn after the battle until one day when dozens of soldiers storm the place and seize Little Dragon, tying him up hand and foot. It turns out that Advisor Ji had found out about Zhengde's amnesia and new occupation, then bribed an ignorant local magistrate to send troops in to take him to be executed on trumped up charges. It is a heartbreaking sight to Feng, who has fallen deeply in love with this man, even though he didn't know who he was.

Meilong village now rustles with the Autumn breeze as Little Dragon gets led through town, on display in his cell cart. It just so happens, however, that today the Marshall, the historian, and all the rest of the Emperor's entourage happen to come here looking for him. Finally seeing in the cart the very person they have been looking so hard for, they block the cart and attempt to free him, but the attending soldiers are also there and the two parties clash. Just then, Prince Ningxia appears, leading a vast cavalry. Finally, he exposes that he is the mastermind behind everything, and tells the would-be rescuers that they have no hope of survival.

The imminent battle is unavoidable, but after a desperate fight, the Little Dragon suddenly turns the situation around. It turns out that not only had he not lost his memory, but that it had been a plan he had hatched a long time ago, using his escape from the palace to draw out Prince Ningxia, causing him to reveal his nefarious plan, exposing and condemning himself in one fell swoop.

With this mutiny thus put down, Zhengde once again dons his royal attire and has Feng brought before him. She had gone through all of this with him and so he asks her to return with him to the palace though she politely refuses.Without another word, Zhengde has the Dragon and Phoenix Inn torn to the ground.

Once again, the Commoner's Street is alive and bustling, and once again Zhengde is there enjoying himself. But there is something a little different this time, which is that there is a new sign up, one that names the Dragon and Phoenix Inn! It turns out that the Empress Dowager has acceded to her son's request to take Miss Feng as his wife and furthermore that Zhengde has agreed to his new wife's request that the little inn that they both love be moved into the palace. And so it is that along this street and in this inn, the Emperor and Empress write a new and happy story of their life, inspiring timeless songs about their love.

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