Movie Review – The Monkey King 2 (2016)

The Monkey King 2
Directed by Pou-Soi Cheang
Courtesy of Well Go USA
Release Date: January 3, 2016

I love studying the myths and mythologies of other cultures, therefore I always try to take in film adaptations of some of the more popular stories when I can. One legend that has always enraptured me is that of Sun Wukong, or The Monkey King. This Chinese folk tale is vividly adapted in 2014’s THE MONKEY KING, and then continued in THE MONKEY KING 2. Full of eye-popping special effects, hearty humor, and some crazy action, THE MONKEY KING 2 is one of those films you’ll want to watch several times over, just to make sure you don’t miss anything.

If you are not familiar with THE MONKEY KING 2, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Well Go USA:

The follow up to the international fantasy blockbuster, THE MONKEY KING 2 fast forwards 500 years after the Monkey King (Aaron Kwok) wreaked havoc in heaven. Newly freed from his confines under the Five Finger Mountain, the Monkey King vows to protect the innocent from a demon seeking immortality as he accompanies a young monk (William Feng) on an epic journey to the West.

There are so many things to like about THE MONKEY KING 2. It is vastly entertaining, from both a story and character standpoint, and it is visually beautiful. The CG is almost constant in every scene, but that helps add to the striking backdrops. The characters are boisterous and offer a steady stream of humor and emotion. Overall, this is a very satisfying film.

THE MONKEY KING 2 is shot well and greatly utilizes the HD concept of filmmaking. I would love to see this in 4K Ultra, as I’ll bet the vivid colors and imagery are mind-blowing.

The acting in the film is top notch, although I have to confess I miss Donnie Yen as the Monkey King; I’m a huge fan of Yen’s work, therefore I always want to see him in any role he can get. But, Aaron Kwok does a fine job as his replacement. I’m not familiar with Kwok’s prior work, but I can see he has talent.

The story is lighthearted and fun, although it contains several “life lessons” that teach as well as entertain. I’m not sure how much of the plot is based on the actual mythology of the Monkey King, but from what I can gather, it’s quite a bit. I like this aspect, as it seems to give more depth to the film as a whole.

The action in THE MONKEY KING 2 is fast-paced and intense, but again a lot of fun. There’s plenty of wirework evident, but there’s also loads of ground-based fighting as well. The martial arts style used by Kwok in his role as the King seems to infuse a simian spirit, therefore it vividly stands out when he fights.

THE MONKEY KING 2 is a big win for me, and I highly recommend it. Martial arts fantasy does not get much bolder or vibrant than this, and the payoff is a two-hour trek into enjoyment. The film is available now, so check it out.

MSB

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