Surprise (2015) 万万没想到 - Part 1 (Movie Recap)

kynkari: About a year ago, I curled up under a fuzzy blanket with some Funyuns and my unicorn slippers to watch Netflix. “We have a recommendation for you,” Netflix boldly claimed. “You will love it and will surely forgive us for canceling our original series Marco Polo, starring the panty-disintegrating Remi Hii.”
SakiVI: Hmmm, I wasn’t so picky about watching on Netflix. And Remi Hii was the only good thing on Marco Polo.

I was skeptical, and still bitter about Marco Polo, but I hit play out of curiosity.
My innocent eyes were immediately assaulted with images of ethereal Chinese elves cavorting in a frozen landscape and whipping their Party City white wigs around in the mystical wind. I was convinced that I had stumbled upon Chinese fantasy porn.
It’s arguably very bad porn, then.

Never a quitter, I decided to hang in there and see if any clothes came off. Instead, I was treated to a really horrible CGI Lion, crowns made out of muffin tins and stuffed sheep flying through the air. My geeky heart exploded in a shower of joy and confusion. I had never watched an Asian drama before, but this show was Xena-Warrior-Princess-camp full of beautiful people in terrible costumes. There was a unicorn named Turnip. I had to know more, and hence, stumbled upon the brilliant Problematic of the Unproblematic and fell in love with their Ice Fantasy recaps.
::Preens for kakashi, Jo and self::

Twelve months later, I’ve posted over 1300 comments on POTUP, written 20 Chapters of Ice Fantasy fanfiction, have taken 50 Chinese language lessons, and have watched 20 Chinese/Korean dramas. I have an unhealthy obsession with Ma Tianyu’s face (Shi from Ice Fantasy). I am in a deep, dark hole of Asian entertainment that I’m perfectly happy to wallow in.
I even unapologetically wear a set of stacked rings modeled after Shi and Kasuo’s crowns from Ice Fantasy. (Kasuo is on top, which I think we all know is inaccurate. Too much crying.)

I am eternally grateful for finding this group of witty, intelligent and talented people at POTUP and I wanted to celebrate my one year anniversary with the gang! What better way than to try my hand at a recap, and its another deliciously campy, Chinese fantasy starring Ma Tianyu!! Squeee!!! SakiVI will be joining me as she is a kindred spirit and fellow lover of Ice Fantasy and MTY.
Ice Fantasy was one of the best shows ever, IMO, and MTY played the real hero, not that dippy Ka Suo.

Since Surprise is a movie instead of a drama, our recap will be broken into four parts: three parts for the movie and one for the BTS/outtakes.
Ready, set, go!

Surprise (2015) is a hilariously low-budget fantasy comedy movie directed by Joshua Yi based on a Yoku web series of the same name. The movie tells the story of Wang Dachui, a young, amenable demon with somewhat useless magical powers who dreams of being the chief demon of Stone Ox Village. One day, he is met with a surprise in the form of a Tang monk and his three disciples, and an adventure filled with love, loss and cats chasing laser pointers ensues.

Part 1

Our story begins with the Chinese version of James Earl Jones narrating an ancient tale about an evil demon and a heroic holy monk. The monk creates a magical circle in a small village called Stone Ox to trap the demon, thereby saving the entire world. Of course the demon is pissed and is plotting his revenge which he plans to unleash upon the world through the holy monk’s cursed descendant.
All normalish so far.

Enter four travelers. A Tang monk, a pig demon, a monkey and... a guy with the sea captain beard so magnificent that it joins up with his eyebrows, are traveling to Stone Ox village to investigate rumors of a demon awakening in connection with an old legend. They suddenly see an ominous red cloud hovering over the village!
I think the sea captain is some sort of cat.

He’s actually a Curtain Lifting General, whatever the heck that is.
Big Brother Monkey seems to be in charge, so he immediately launches himself into the air and flies into the swirling vortex, ready to do battle with the demon. After some discussion, his three friends decide to run away, but they don’t get too far. Monkey is losing badly, and in an effort to protect his friends, he seals them in a giant, transparent bell.
Nice of him.
Monkey puts up a valiant struggle against the demon but he finally goes limp and falls to the Earth.

Okay, admittedly after this somewhat chaotic sequence, I was skeptical about the movie. The subs were fast, it was highly goofy and I was confused, but I was determined to give it a chance.
I think I fast-forwarded all of this, actually.

The scene shifts to the idyllic Stone Ox village one day previous. A prequel if you will. Wang Dachui, a young demon with cute tiny horns on his head introduces himself as “so handsome the wind blowing his hair is jealous of his handsomeness.” He is rather full of himself and spends his time wandering around the village annoying everyone. He stops in to visit with Auntie Liu and she tells him to piss off. He snoops around and finds that she has made the “Legendary Rainbow Tofu.” He makes fun of her and she smashes tofu in his face.
So, he’s probably not that good-looking if the Auntie hates him. As an Auntie, I can tell you that I favor the good-looking boys over the not-so-cute ones. It’s an Auntie’s prerogative to play favorites and pamper handsome youths. Chincha.
<Dramatic pause and knowing look tossed in the direction of Drama Panda and kakashi>

So, we’ve established that this movie has cursing and dirty jokes. I’m on board!

Wang Dachui continues to pester people in the village, and despite being a walking natural disaster, he remains optimistic about how wonderful he is. More antics ensue involving Venus de Milo, a cactus used as an opulent headdress, and a hilarious poke at Chinese drama fake “ha-ha-ha-ha” belly laughing.
Even the little kids beat him up.

Dachui’s boss, the tough and beautiful Xiao Mei, threatens to fire him. She says if he doesn’t stop acting like a fool, she’ll have the village hero, Murong Bai, kick his ass. Dachui is clearly very jealous as he has a thing for Xiao Mei, and she seems to have a thing for Murong Bai.
Spoiler: I also have a thing for Murong Bai. A big thing.
Me too. I’m here for Murong Bai.

Enter the very non-scary Tony the Tiger demon, who threatens to destroy the village if they do not hand over a magical secret weapon they know nothing about. This costume is ridiculously silly, but it’s entirely on purpose. I approve.
They’re…. great!

Dachui is no coward, and he confronts Tony the Tiger. He tries diplomacy but it fails when Xiao Mei hits Tony in the face with a fireplace shovel. But wait! A whirling white cloud of perfection and beauty appears! It’s our hero, Murong Bai, played by none other than: Ma Tianyu!!!
Oh, my beating heart!!! It beats so fast!!!
He sexily dispatches of Tony the Tiger in an impressive fight scene. He also gets a little flirting in with Xiao Mei, and puts Dachui in his place, but not before we learn that he is suffering from disturbing visions. Poor baby, come here to jiejie. I’ll kiss the visions away. Tony the Tiger offers him immortality if he… eats half a monk with him. Huh? Bai refuses, but not before the image of a green demon face flashes before his eyes, a la Blair Witch Project. The villagers notice that he isn’t quite to form and Murong Bai stiffly stomps off to his hidden hero lair. Poor Dachui only manages to look stupid in front of his love interest, but stubbornly remains confident in his own abilities.
Those villagers are way spoilt considering they didn’t fight off Tony.
In the meantime, the village girls are disappointed that they missed all the action. They have a cheerleading squad just for Murong Bai when he fights demons and they have arrived late to the party. They all want to marry him, lie with him, and have his babies, not necessarily in that order.

I completely understand this sentiment. Ma Tianyu would be the father of my babies if I wasn’t already married, I had a uterus, I was ten years younger, I was a famous Chinese actress, Ma Tianyu had testosterone(©JoAnne), I didn’t have an unhealthy relationship with McDonalds, I could speak Chinese better. Yeah, let’s go with that. Ma Tianyu would make gorgeous Chinese-American babies with me if I could speak Chinese better. Right.
I’m available, Ma Tianyu!!! Over here! I think I still have a shot at beautiful Punjabi-Pakistani-Chinese babies with him. I would try it with him, that’s for sure.

I guess I will have to live vicariously through your uterus. Le sigh.
I suspect this village girl is… a guy.
Murong Bai is above all cisnormative barriers.
Me too, sister.
Ahem, I’m the one available here!

We now enter Murong Bai’s home, which is a creepy-ass greenish colored cave with a lake running through it. Way to be weird, Bai. We find out that he is suffering from the family curse: He must protect the seal of the demon and as a result, he will die at a young age. He is already growing weak and doesn’t have much time.
He’d better hurry up and have those Punjabi-Pakistani-Chinese babies with me.
The villagers are worried because Murong Bai is the last of his family and they know he is growing weak. All of the women volunteer to have a baby with Murong Bai (because of course they do) to help protect the village. Dachui is jealous that Murong Bai is getting all the attention and offers to be a hero for the village instead. He makes a grand entrance after stealing fireworks from a guy named Iron Bull.
The poor guy just wants to be a hero.
He should try being competent first.

The villagers mock him and tell him that he isn’t hero material. In a fit of anger, he stalks off into the woods and stumbles into the pig demon, who is just looking for some food. In very non-herolike fashion, Dachui screams like a little girl and runs away, tripping into a portal that transports him… elsewhere.


This sets up our story nicely. An ancient demon is trying to break through a seal so that he can wreak havoc once again upon the world. Murong Bai is tasked with stopping the demon, but he is weakening and will die soon due to a family curse. Wang Dachui wants to be the hero that Murong Bai is, but he is a bumbling idiot. He loves his boss, Xiao Mei, but she loves Murong Bai, and it’s very likely that Murong Bai loves her back. How will our heroes stop the demon from breaking through the seal? Stay tuned for Part 2!

We must find out!

This movie gave me pause at first, but once Wang Dachui showed up, it was all good. The humor is goofy, but also quite clever as they poke fun at themselves and c-drama themes in general. I was surprised, and delighted, at the raunchy humor and liberal application of curse words.

And let’s not forget Murong Bai / Ma Tianyu. Poor tragic boy.
Beautiful man.

This movie takes place in the Journey to the West universe. Journey to the West is one of the four classic novels of Chinese literature written in the 16th century Ming Dynasty by Wu Cheng’en. It features a Tang monk, Xuanzang, the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie or the Pig demon, and Sha Wujing, the Curtain Lifting General. There have been many adaptations of Journey to the West and its characters in literature and film. Probably the most well known recent adaptation has been The Monkey King and the The Monkey King 2 (2014-2016) starring none other than… William Feng (Kasuo from Ice Fantasy). It all comes back around people! Six degrees of separation of Ma Tianyu!
I’m just going to say this was surprisingly funny and I actually watched the movie in one go which I usually never do. And, it’s got Ma Tian Yu.