Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons

Co-writers and directors Stephen Chow and Chi-kin Kwok's comedic take on one of the four classic novels of Chinese literature stars Zhang Wen as would-be Buddhist demon hunter Tang Sanzang on his road to enlightenment. On the road he meets a far more experienced demon hunter (Qi Shu) who begins to fall for the goofy Sanzang.

Offbeat, humorous, and more than a little uneven, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons is a bizarre horror-comedy with subplots ranging from a love story to Buddhist enlightenment to the intelligence of using fairy tales to fight monsters. Featuring battles involving pig-monsters and giant fish, the movie features an odd collection of characters in the Monkey King (Bo Huang) and rival bounty hunters with the strength and speed of a tiger (Yu Xing), a giant foot (Chaoli Zhang), and telekinetically-powered swords (Show Luo). More of it works than not, but at times it's thoroughly engaging and at times it's just plain weird.

Available on both Blu-ray and DVD, extras include the film's trailer and a collection of short feaurtettes (all under 3 minutes) on the stunts, characters, humor, choreography, production design, director, and stars of the film. The film, presented in Mandarin with English subtitles, also includes an English dubbed audio track which enhances the cheesier aspects of the film.

[Magnolia Home Entertainment, Blu-ray $29.98 / DVD $26.98]

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