(C) 2015 China Film Group Corporation / DreamSky Entertainment / Edko Distribution
Chinese Action Cinema is not widely known for its 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 the realms, for years the Humans and Monsters lived together but after the monsters were driven out of their homes they took sanctuary where ever they could.
The film focuses on an uprising in the Monster realm where the Monster King has been dethroned by an 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 monsters 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 mysterious 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 Queen's 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 underway.
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 its 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 scarier than say Disney's Maleficent.
I wish there were 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. The sound was superb even on my aging 5.1 set up.
To sum up Monster Hunt is a wonderful tale for all the family and one I will definitely watch again.
Review By: Sertes Nake
Review Date: December 2020
Director : Raman Hui
Producer : Bill Kong / Alan Yuen / Yee Chung -Man /Doris Tse
Writer : Alan Yuen
Cast : Bai Baihe
Music : Leon Ko
Release Year: 2015
Company : Dreamsky Entertainment
Bejing Digital Impression Media
Distribution: China Film Group Corporation