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If you’re missing the big-budget productions Hollywood is too scared to release theatrically, A Writer’s Odyssey can help you with your fix.
|Screenplay By||Shu Chen, Xiaocao Liu, Yang Lu, Haiyan Qin, Lu Yang, Yang Yu|
|Date Released (Theatrical)||2/12/2021|
|Genre(s)||Action, Adventure, Crime, Drama, Fantasy, Thriller, Non-English|
|Duration||2 Hour 10 Minutes|
|Guan Ning||Lei Jiayin|
|Tu Ling||Yang Mi|
|Li Mu||Yu Hewei|
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Nearly 6 years ago, Guan Ning’s daughter, lovingly named Tangerine, was kidnapped, and he sacrificed his marriage and career to find her. Hence why, when Tu Ling and Li Mu call upon him to kill a man named Kongwen, and in exchange, they’ll present him with a girl who might be his daughter, he jumps at the chance.
Now, why are they trying to kill Kongwen? Well, he is writing a story that seemingly affects reality, but specifically Li Mu’s health. So, after trying all legal means they can, murder is the only option. Add in Guan Ning has an unexplainable gift for throwing things, and they figure he can throw a rock or something, curve the throw how he needs to, and no one will be the wiser.
Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Reason(s) for Film Rating: There is violence, blood (not gratuitous), and that’s about it.
- Jump Scares/ Laughs/ Tear-Jerking Moments: The ending might make you cry.
The Father/ Daughter Relationship Driving The Movie
The absence of Tangerine, as well as Tu Ling not having her father, brings an understanding of what’s on the line here. Guan Ning gave up everything, even the mother of Tangerine, which was weird to me, but without kids, I let it go, to find Tangerine. And it makes it when Kongwen reveals one of the characters in his story, which is based on people he knows or interacts with, that first sign of hope.
Because, after 6 years, his daughter could be dead, in another country, or so traumatized she barely knows her name. So presenting that hope for Guan Ning, you get it. It doesn’t take Liam Neeson playing a character like this for you to connect with what’s going on. Never mind understanding why Guan is willing to push himself to murder just to have hope. Mind you, there are no guarantees they found a DNA match for Tangerine, but they do have some possibilities – that is the driving force here.
Which makes the ending tear you up.
While It Won’t Leave You Awestruck, The Fight Scene & Special Effects Were Cool
While clearly a big box office movie, with intricate special effects and stunt work, you won’t be left grimacing at the sound of blows or shocked as people are killed, one after another. A Writer’s Odyssey is not that kind of movie. There is violence, some blood, but not enough to make you feel a kid couldn’t watch this. If anything, it’s enough to show you that the situation in the world Kongwen writes is serious. Nothing more, nothing less.
It Makes You Want To Pay Attention To The Story, Not Just The Action Scenes
With Kongwen’s story, which we see, based on reality, it makes it so you have to take note of both to fully understand what’s going on. Mind you, Tu Ling will drop reminders, in case you forget or didn’t catch a subtitle, but even aside from what Li Mu did, you just get an engaging story. One that, admittedly, if watching from home, may not hold your attention as well, but between Guan’s journey, Kongwen’s “Godslayer” novel, and figuring out how the two are intertwined, you become quite entertained.
On The Fence
Details Missing Which Could Have Made This Better
So there are a lot of things sped through or just dropped in A Writer’s Odyssey. The first thing is, considering a handful of people like Guan have talents, be it Guan’s ability to control the trajectory of objects he throws, what does that stem from? Mind you, no one is a superhero. One uses electricity like Pyro, of the X-Men, uses fire. Meaning, they can’t just create it but do have the power to manipulate it to a point. Also, there is someone with beyond average strength, and who knows what else.
That is all set aside. Also, there is the need to address why did Guan leave his wife because it being over Tangerine seemed weird. This is on top of who ran the kidnapping ring that stole Tangerine, was Li Mu part of that, and what was Tu Ling’s backstory? Especially since Li Mu makes her sound “discarded” and doesn’t have a paternal relationship with her, so you can’t say he was her father figure and because she is questioning how he is that is causing an issue.
And then, even with Kongwen’s story, considering the way it is written, it’s easy to forget, an hour or so after watching, why was he running when introduced? Also, what were the origins of the armor he wore? We’re told it has existed for hundreds of years, but should we see it as a parasite, a demon, what? OH, and considering Kongwen’s story is affecting actual people’s health, should we see him as someone with talents like Guan or on a whole separate level?
Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)
While questionable details are missing, A Writer’s Odyssey is yet another theatrical release that can hold over American audiences until various Hollywood distributors feel comfortable with the idea of releasing their biggest hits.
A Writer’s Odyssey Ending (Spoilers)
From what we learn, the reason why Kongwen’s story is so threatening is because it is true. It’s about Kongwen’s father who died due to Li Mu, who was his business partner – but in a fantasy world. Now, whether or not Kongwen has a sister killed by Li Mu’s goons? Well, you could dream up maybe Tu Ling could be Kongwen’s sister since it isn’t noted if Kongwen, in the real world, is an only child, and with Tu Ling sound like she was “discarded,” the possibilities are endless.
Slowly getting to the point, Kongwen’s story is somehow killing Li Mu, though in reality, it is more so Li Mu’s guilty conscious making him sick, fainting, and making him scared out of his mind. This isn’t to say Kongwen’s writing ability is overstated. As Guan grows close to Kongwen, Kongwen decides to write him in, and when the character based on Guan gets injured, Guan finds himself with a mark on his face.
Again, everyone’s powers aren’t explained, it is just noted a select few are aware they exist. But what does matter is that, after Tu Ling grows tired of Li Mu, especially when she learns he tricked Guan to be a fall guy for Kongwen’s murder, she splits from him and tries to protect Kongwen from murder. Unfortunately, Kongwen nearly gets killed, but Guan, who has been dreaming of ending Kongwen’s story for ages, writes the final chapter.
Now, this is when things may get confusing. Guan’s dreams of hearing his daughter push the idea that, despite being told Tangerine was drugged and died from a high dosage, she is alive. In fact, though it isn’t explained why, Tangerine is in Kongwen’s fantasy story as a sidekick to his character. One who, after swallowed by the demon, which represents Li Mu, calls out to her father, which is Guan. Someone who shows up helps Kongwen defeat Li Mu’s demon alter-ego and saves the day.
Leading to a frustrating ending when Guan sees a girl who looks like his daughter, so he sings the song that they used to sing together. But, unfortunately, the film doesn’t have the little girl turn around, sing with her dad, or have a mid or post-credit scene to confirm it is Tangerine. You’re just left hoping for the best.
Does A Writer’s Odyssey Have Prequel/ Sequel Potential?
I want to say no. An extended edition would be cool to fill in the blanks, but it doesn’t warrant a sequel or prequel.