Stephen Chow is one of my favorite film makers. He started out doing low budget kung fu comedies in the 90s and has since gone one to produce CGI laden comedy classics like Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer. Journey to the West is his latest. It’s available on VOD (Video on Demand) and I highly recommend it Based on one of the most famous books of Chinese literature, about a young Buddhist monk who is sent by his master to India to bring back sacred texts. He is accompanied by three reformed demons in the shapes of men, who were once Fish, Pig and Monkey demons. The ex-demons have superpowers and have to prove themselves to be reformed and are tested along the way as they pass through magical lands.
This is not that story, it’s the prequel. It tells how the monk came to meet these demons as a dorky demon hunter who tries to reform demons with nursery rhymes. In the process he gets his ass kicked repeatedly and saved by a female demon hunter who has the hots for him. The climatic build up is where he is sent to find the Monkey King who has been imprisoned for 500 years in a mountain shaped like Buddha. He seeks the Monkey King’s help but the monkey king just wants to be let out of prison.
This leads to a climatic fight that is on the level of Man of Steel’s climax only with hilarity.
This movie is really funny, if you like slapstick, which is a staple of Stephen Chow. It me laughing at the silliness, which few comedies manage to do these days. But also, it’s full of wild originality and amazing sequences that are worthy of a great comic book fight.
Lots of fun, worth a look.
Oh, and another big budget Monkey film is coming out soon from another director starring Donny Yen that’s a must see.