Anna and the King
|Fox 2000; R; 140 minutes|
|Cast:||Jodie Foster, Chow Yun-Fat, Bai Ling|
If the name sounds familiar, you're right: Anna and the King is indeed a modernization of Yul Brynner's 1956 Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The King and I. Hong Kong action hero Chow Yun-Fat does not dance, however, and at no point does Jodie Foster break into song. Yun-Fat's knowing charm stands up to Brynner's portrayal of the Siamese king who enters into a romantic cross-cultural exchange with the British widow (Foster) sent to teach his many children.
Director Andy Tennant gives the movie a predictably anti-Imperialistic spin, but one can't help thinking that a different director could have done more justice to the tale. Foster is stilted and withdrawn, rendering the thought of any romance possible between her and King Mongkut nearly impossible. The exotic historical location gets lost amid grandiose gestures and any spicy details are overlooked.