Journey to the West – Conquering the Demons
Stephen Chow's output in film may have not have been as constant in the past few years as in the past, but after his past few films being tremendously successful he probably does not need to rush to make his next film.
With the success of Shaolin Soccer in 2001 and Kung Fu Hustle in 2004 Chow has been able to take his time and make the films he wants to make when and how he wants to make them.
In fact the last time Stephen Chow appeared in film was in the 2008 CJ7 , a film which Chow chose to shy away from his more zany roles and tried to approach film making from a moral point of view, the film a sci-fi drama about a father and his son trying to survive life's tribulations was not met with the same acclaim as his previous two efforts.
So bang up to date we have Journey to the West, but it's not the first time Stephen Chow has visited this story in some part, his earlier films A Chinese Odyssey part one and two had touched on the subject matter before.
Now here the story focuses on how Tang Sanzang got his disciples. Also many will be disappointed to hear that Stephen Chow does not appear in the film and only directs along with Derek Kwok (Gallants) and produces.
Maybe as he had previously appeared in two films on the subject which had won him awards he thought he would stay behind the camera.
Of course where dealing with a story written by Wu Cheng'en and a Chinese Classic. So keeping some continuity to the classic story is essential due to it's many fans.
Wen Zhang plays a Buddhist Demon hunter named Tang Sanzang who arrives in a village along with his master to help vanquish Demons that are terrorising the village.
Of course there are other hunters who for fame, fortune and other rewards have the same thing in mind.
Arriving after a bodysuit priest has supposedly vanquished a Fish Demon Tang finds himself at the ridicule of the locals, but when it becomes apparent that what was vanquished was no demon and the terror is still at large it falls onto the shoulders of Tang to help save the village ,even though his predicament (being tied up) and his unorthodox ways of dealing with a entity which has the sole purpose to eat you.
It's here we are introduced to another demon hunter by the name of Miss Duan (Shu Qi) who with her talents actually traps the demon when it looks like Tang might just be losing out .
The film has a run time of around 100 minutes and is basically split up into a story of three demons that Tang must vanquish one way or the other ,with help or not. ..
Now one thing evident when watching for the first few minutes is that you are watching a Stephen Chow film, his use of special effects for quite ludicrous situations and his casting of actors and actresses that are capable of pulling some of the most exaggerated expressions seen on film.
But early on some of the comedic scenes are at odds with quite brutal scenes , not that I'm a prude or squeamish but it becomes apparent that you know your be entertained through out but maybe don't expect to role of your seat laughing any time soon.
What we have here is a feature that's a feats for the eyes and action scenes that will impress and acting talent that will convince you that this is how Wu Chen'en would have wrote the story about how the Monk Tripitaka actually got his disciples .
Of course being a modern production the depth of the story is intense at times and even though the story of each of the monsters are at times brutal ,it shows that the reason why they are the way they are ,all formerly being quite innocent and pleasant people that have been taken advantage of to some degree.
It's this depth to the story which makes you connect and when those end credits role you just want it to continue as the Journey has just started.
With such a subject matter there will always be some who don't like it, but for us at K.I.T.G. We thought it a very entertaining and exciting film ,it won't have you splitting your sides with laughter but I don't think that was the point .
I truly hope the supposed sequel appears ,apparently this time with Stephen Chow starring in a role .
Of course before that we have another dose of Monkey in the forthcoming Donnie Yen film based on the Novel ..
Which will fair better ?
Well have to wait and see.
Score out of Ten = 8
Reviewer : Sertes Nake
Review Date January 31st 2014.
|Directed by||Stephen Chow |
|Produced by||Stephen Chow |
|Starring||Huang Bo |
|Studio||Bingo Movie Development |
Village Roadshow Pictures Asia
Chinavision Media Group Ltd
China Film Group
|Distributed by||Edko Films |
|Release dates|| |
|Running time||110 minutes|
Wen Zhang as Tang Sanzang
Shu Qi as Miss Duan
Huang Bo as Sun Wukong (Monkey King)
Show Luo as Prince Important
Lee Sheung Ching as Sand Monk
Chen Bing Qiang as KL Hog
Cheng Si Han as Master Nameless
Xing Yu as Fist of the North Star
Lu Zheng Yu as Killer One
Chiu Chi Ling as Killer Two
Yang Di as Killer Three
Chrissie Chau as Killer Four
Ge Hang Yu as Killer Five and Short Monkey King
Yeung Lun as Mayor
Zhang Chao Li as Almight Foot
He Wun Hui as Maple
Tina Tang as Blossom
Chen Yichun and Liu Zhan Ling as Gao Family Inn Managers
Huang Xiao Chuan as Leader of the Sand People
Zhang Yu Wen as Sheng
Xu Min as Mrs. Gen
Li Jing as Gen
Zhang Wei Fu as Grandpa Gen
Fan Fu Lin as Muscleman
Dai Qu Hua as Lan
Zhong Kai Jie as Lan's baby
Yu Qian Wen as Fat Lady's Husband
Kong Wu Shuang as Singing Girl
Li Gao Ji as Taoist Priest
FookWen Fei Fei as Monk Lu
Huang Hai Seng as Monk Shou
source : wikipedia
King of Beggars - 1992 - Stephen Chow Sing Chi's take on Beggar So.