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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Monkey King 2 (2016)


Country: China
Format: movie
Genre: comedy, mystical
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Gong Li, Feng Shaofeng, Kelly Chen, Xiaoshenyang, Him Law, Fei Xiang,
Synopsis: It has been 500 years since Sun Wukong, also known as Monkey King, has been sealed under Five Fingers Mountain. While passing from the mountain on the way to India to collect Buddha's scriptures, young monk Tang Sanzang accidentally breaks the seal and frees Monkey King. The Mercy Goddess gives Monkey King a duty to protect the monk on his journey as there is a bad eye luring on the land of Yun Hai Xi Kingdom.
Rating: 1/5
As you know it is not usual for me to watch Chinese movie and especially sequel without seeing the first movie. That is why this review is written without seeing and knowing what happened in the first movie, but there is only little connection to the sequel. If you ask me the reason why I even watched it, then let's just say that it was only available movie on that night when I think about the situation back then. The movie is based on a classic Chinese novel "Journey to the West" by Wu Cheng'en, so who is more familiar to Chinese legends and literature might find a lot of interesting things from the movie.


The main character and hero of the movie is Sun Wukong, but I will just call him Moneky King as it will be easier to understand. He is very powerful and without control he can be destructive to the world. That's why Goddess of Mercy pairs him up with the monk. Despite being aggressive and rude to everybody, he is also very loyal and protective. Unfortunately, his protectiveness also is seen as being aggressive and violent, because he has the power to notice hidden dark magic while everyone else are just enchanted with it. That's why from time to time he seems like wild animal who has no morals and just keeps on killing innocent people and for that reason gets punished. The lead-actor Aaron Kwok also acted in the first movie, but there he was the main antagonist and Sun Wukong was played by Donnie Yen who is also action director for both movies.

While the Monk Sanzang starts out as seemingly young naive man who only knows what he has learned in the monastery, then it is surprising to understand that he is much more worthy of his task than it seemed. He turns out much wiser and mature than it looks like. He believes that he can bring peace to everywhere with words and despises violence the most. That is also the reason why he punishes Monkey King who is eager to solve all the problems with violence. For some time he seemed blinded by his beliefs and pushed to the task, but as the story goes on, he shows true responsibility of fulfilling the task.
Moneky King and Monk are also accompanied by women-crazy pig demon Zhu Baije and Djinn-like Sha Wujing, who first put Monkey King through a test to try out his powers. Of course their abilities are nothing compared to Monkey King, but they still have thier own special powers that come in handy when it is needed. These characters also play the biggest part of character-comedy as they happen to go through all kind of things in the movie.    

White Bone Demon is demon terrorizing the area and kidnapping children in order to keep her demonic powers. When she learns about Sanzang she understands that in order to stop her reincarnation she has to devour him. Despite being the antagonist of the movie, she has some what story that makes you feel sympathy for her. She also has her 3 servants - demons of Snake, bat and boar. (just a side comment that Bat was played by Malaysian actress). Gong Li is considered one of the most beautiful Chinese actresses and this kind of fantasy movie definitely enchants her beauty to another level. It is difficult to believe that she is actually 50 years old, when in movie she looks barely 25 - you can talk about real magic here! She and her character are also the reason why the movie earned at least its 1 star from me.
As it is common for Chinese fantasy movies, there is a lot of wired-stunts and computer graphics. Even though I give  two thumbs up for actors who actually are making their on-screen fight scenes themselves. The movie has some sense of humor, but unfortunately cannot say that I find the movie itself so much funny as I humor with sarcasm.
Seems that for Chinese viewers it was appealing, because it definitely broke the box office on the first day of screening.
There is a third movie coming out in 2018, but I think I will not see it as it is not my cup of tea.



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