Your movie is bad and you should feel bad.
|Donnie Yen as Sun Wukong/The Monkey King|
|Chow Yun Fat as The Jade Emperor|
|Aaron Kwok as The Bull Demon King|
|Joe Chen as Princess Iron Fan|
|Peter Ho as Erlang Shen|
|and Kelly Chen as The Bodhisattva Guanyin|
|plus a bunch of random people who add nothing to the story|
I take back what I said about our American allies. They’re not the only ones capable of ruining classic historical tales from Asia. Us Asians are perfectly capable of doing it ourselves. Allow me to introduce Exhibit A: The Monkey King*, a movie based on the ever fantastic Journey to the West. This is the tome that has inspired fantastic television, manga, cartoons and…some really mediocre movies. Thankfully, The Monkey King surpasses all of these by revealing its trump card: being completely and utterly sh!t.
Journey to the West is sort of like the Chinese version of Lord of the Rings, where a bunch of dudes go on a quest by walking around a lot. Except in Journey to the West, Sean Bean doesn’t die (but only because he’s not in it), eagles don’t magically appear and there’s lots of kung fu. It should make for a great movie you say? Well, The Monkey King* takes away all of the strolling and important stuff (like an actual story) and leaves us with two hours of terrible dialogue, Twatlight^ style death glares, poorly translated english subtitles and pointless action scenes filled with terrible wire fighting CGI. Hah! Try that on for size, naive viewer!
I presume that the makers of this movie assumed everyone who is watching this movie has read all 120 chapters of Journey to the West. Well, I for one, haven’t. This means that I can’t tell whether the stuff that happens in this movie is part of the storyline in the book, because it’s so flimsily glued together that nothing quite makes sense. In fact, what the movie does feel like is an attempt to show that China can do CGI just as well as Hollywood. Unfortunately, they forgot to ask Michael Bay or the Wachowski brothers about how much time and effort it takes to do decent CGI when they made all those Transformers and Matrix movies.
What we get is lots of cheap wire fighting on a green backdrop. There’s nothing innovative about it. Basically, it reminds you that The Monkey King* hasn’t advanced beyond those really bad eighties TV shows from China we used to watch where all the characters are fighting in the air. Actually, I’d still prefer to watch those since they are still much better than this movie.
This has to be the most stupid way to tell a story, ever. There are lots of people who have never read the book, much less watched Monkey Magic and would never be able to make heads or tails of this ridiculous movie. So, for their benefit, the makers of The Monkey King* have decided – very helpfully, I might add – to remove any semblance of a storyline and just add bits of what appear, from the outside, to be random events which hint that there is a Chinese Michael Bay lurking around. Yes, it’s even worse than when your crazy uncle goes overboard with sock puppetry. I mean, yes, the Transformers movies are basically a CGI fest with barely a storyline too, but at least the CGI is good and there is comic relief between the explosions. The Monkey King* doesn’t have that and all it ends up being is boring and sh!t, and watching it is a pointless waste of time, money and effort.
* in Communism approved 3D!
^ may not be the actual title.
Yeah, it’s totally crap. No plot, no point and no money back guarantee.
Should I watch this?
No. Go watch Dragonball or Monkey instead. They’re much better.