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Kick'em In The Ghoulies

"It's The Only Way To Survive"

Bluray Review

(C) 2015 China Film Group Corporation  / DreamSky Entertainment  / Edko Distribution

 

MONSTER HUNT  - 2015

Chinese Action Cinema is not widely known for it's family friendly films, especially in the West.  Now with the recent event of the Western made film Monster Hunter which is based on the Capcom Game Franchise   we look at this Family Friendly film from 2015 which bears a remarkably close resemblance to the for mentioned game franchise .


But here Raman Hui the director creates a full family friendly film for all with a great cast and special effects by the team behind SHREK.


Of note the summary of the story is taken from one of the some five hundred  classical Chinese stories  from Pu Songling.


Set in Ancient China the story is one of realms , for years the Humans and Monsters lived together but after the monsters where driven out of their homes they took sanctuary where ever they could. 


The film focuses on a uprising in the Monster realm  where the Monster King who has been dethroned by a evil minister who   seeks the Unborn child of the Queen. 

The Queen flees to the Human realm , but this is not a  safe place for Monsters as Monster Hunters are rife and many fight over the bounty of collecting the bounty of any monster that appears.


All this starts at a small village whose Mayor Song Tianyin longs for a more exciting life , since the mystery disappearance of his father.

And excitement Song will get when he gets entangled in a Monster conspiracy while getting into conflict with Female Monster Hunter Huo Xaiolan , a feisty young hunter whose out to make a name for herself. 


When the conflict reaches a climax at the beginning of the film where the Monster Queen vanquishes her unborn child to the body of Song who ends up being pregnant with the Queens baby. Desperate to make it big in the Hunter world Huo captures Song and plans to collect the bounty on the Unborn child, but due to circumstances beyond their control, Song Gives Birth  and here the Mayor and Huntress join forces to deliver the baby safe for bounty  . It's here the film really gets under way . 


The little monster baby is brilliantly animated and is so life like that you get attached to the little guy quite quickly. But with other hunters on their trail wanting to collect the bounty and government officials whose desire to acquire the child the two must be vigilant.


Monster Hunt is a great watch, It's one of those films that proves that it's not just Disney / Pixar  that can  turn out a fun family friendly spectacular that mixes live action with Animated characters. 


The special effects are top of the line and the Chinese vistas are phenomenal at times. On top of that we have a good cast of  Bai Baihe and Jing Boran  , who actually volunteered to do his role for free as he was a replacement for the original lead star who fell foul of Bejing authorities on drug charges .


Add to this the cameos of legendary actress and actor Sandra NG and Eric Tsang  who are always a joy to watch. And I'm sure brought their expertise to the film as well.


But it's not all special effects , Monster Hunt has some really well choreographed action scenes as bounty hunters fight for the prize and some scenes are very reminiscent of the classic Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or Hero. 


But unlike those films , this is a family film and Kids will love the character of Wuba the Monster Baby  and the many different Monster characters  that have been created for the film. And yes the film is not just subtitled but also dubbed into various languages including English. So the purist like me can watch in it's original language form , but for English speaking families the dubbed version will entertain to the hilt.


As far as how suitable it is for kids , it has a PG rating in the UK. and is no more scary then say Disney's Maleficent .


I wish their where more films like this out of China and the East , as bringing this quality of filming combined with the culture from that region makes for a good film .


I watched the UK release on Bluray and I am lucky enough to view it on a big screen where colours really stood out and brought everything to life. Sound was superb even on my ageing 5.1 set up . 


To sum up Monster Hunt is a wonderful tale for all the family and one I will definitely watch again.

There's lots going on but  not to much to confuse the issue. The Monsters are well thought out and have a compassion to them that you route for them through out the film.  From the Blistering action scenes to the cute little moments where Song and Huo find themselves more like a married couple with a child rather then two odd balls out for a bounty will make you smile .


Review By : Sertes Nake


Review Date: December 2020



 
 
  • Monster Hunt - 2015
    Monster Hunt - 2015
Monster Hunt - 2015
Monster Hunt - 2015

Credits


Director : Raman Hui 


Producer : Bill Kong  / Alan Yuen / Yee Chung -Man /Doris Tse


Writer : Alan Yuen


Cast : Bai Baihe 

Jing Boran

Eric Tsang

Sandra NG


Music : Leon Ko


Release Year: 2015 


Company : Dreamsky Entertainment 

Bejing Digital Impression Media

Tencent Video

Heyi Pictures

Edko



Distribution: China Film Group Corporation 

Edko Distribution 


 
From Long Term Dream to Box Office Smash

Monster Hunt was pipe dream for director Hui who having worked for the big Hollywood companies on Shrek, Batman Forever, Puss in Boots , The Simpsons and more. Longed to do a animated film in China , his work was mostly as a animator or assistant director , though his work on the Shrek films did get him noticed.  

Hui had been in talks with Bill Kong about making a film like ths in China years ago but the timing was not right , but later on Kong introduced Hui to Alan Yuen who helped him realise his vision. 

The process was a long one which culminated in seven years of work to get to the final film.  

But that was all set to be lost when after 85 days of shooting. lead star Kai Ko was picked up on drug charges in Bejing.

This spelled disaster for the team as the films target audience being China and being a family film it did not bode well  for it's lead star to be in the media for all the wrong reasons.

Bill Kong took the decision to re shoot with a new lead actor , meaning around 70% of the film would need to be re shot  , this of course proved worrying for Hui who thought where never going to make the money back, but it was amazing as the original crew and cast returned to re-shoot the film in a amazing 35 days or so. 
 And they all did it for a reduced fee. Which took some of the financial worry away from the film. 

They should have not  worried though as Monster Hunt went on to be the highest grossing film in China of all time upon it's release taking a whopping US$382 million , twice the films budget .

Raman Hui won Director of the year by Cineasia
and Best Chinese Director - 18th Huading awards

Bai Baihe won Best Actress - 13th Changchun awards
Bai Naihe won Most Popular Actress - 12th Guangzou Student Festival