HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
   
 
  Monkey King 3, The All the ladies love a Buddhist monk
Year: 2018
Director: Soi Pou Cheang
Stars: Aaron Kwok, William Feng, Zhao Liying, Xiao Shen-Yang, Him Lo Lun-Kim, Gigi Leung, Lin Chi-lin, Allie Chan, Tao Liu, Yihan Sun, Lun Tsai, Kingdom Yuen King-Tan, Zanilia Zhao
Genre: Martial Arts, Romance, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Continuing their epic journey to the west in search of the sacred sutras Sun Wu Kong the Monkey King (Aaron Kwok), pious monk Xuanzang (William Feng) and bumbling companions Pigsy (Xiao Shen-Yang) and Sandy (Him Lo Lun-Kim) narrowly escape an enraged River God. Only to inadvertently wander into Womanland, a cloistered kingdom populated solely by women. Since its founding no man has set foot in the kingdom before and ancestral teachings decree men to be their greatest enemy. Worse yet an ancient prophecy foretells that the arrival of a monk and his monkey disciple will bring about the downfall of Womanland and its ruler. Yet the beautiful young Queen (Zhao Liying) falls instantly in love with Xuanzang.

Ever wondered why the villains in Monkey King stories are, more often than not, slinky, seductive women? Maybe it reflects traditional Buddhist philosophy's antipathy towards sex. Something at odds with the more balanced relationship between the sensual and the spiritual found in China's other major religion: Taoism. Whatever the case, it would appear that the creative team behind The Monkey King series took note of the archaic misogyny that marred past adaptations of Wu Cheng-En's sixteenth century novel Journey to the West and sought to tackle that theme head on here. The result is an especially strong entry, by turns witty, romantic and poetic in its analysis of gender disparity and the meaning of true love. An improvement upon the solid but unremarkable Monkey King II (2016). Having replaced original star Donnie Yen in the previous sequel, Aaron Kwok seems much more comfortable in the role this time around. He gives a wilder, more exuberant turn befitting the Monkey's mischievous nature.

Part Three revisits a chapter of the sprawling mythological saga previously adapted for the screen as the Shaw Brothers' musical fantasy Land of Many Perfumes (1968). However Soi Pou Cheang opts for a more nuanced retelling of the traditional tale. While the first two films in the series were fairly serious the third entry is often riotously funny with laugh-out-loud slapstick moments (e.g. the scene where our heroes fake their own deaths in front of an execution squad). But the romance also works much better this time around. Especially the star-crossed love between William Feng's handsome yet emotionally repressed Xuanzang and the more ebullient, openhearted young Queen played by Zhao Liying, current reigning queen of Chinese TV dramas. As in Jeff Lau's genre mash-up A Chinese Tall Story (2005) the plot thrusts the usually passive Xuanzang centre stage as a romantic lead but infuses the love story with philosophical undertones.

Established right from the opening scene the central theme deals with the tension between concepts of spiritual and romantic love, whether these remain mutually exclusive or can co-exist and bridge the age long gulf of misunderstanding between the sexes. While a trifle shapeless the plot still takes disarming twists and turns, ruminating on an unfortunate history of men exploiting then demonizing women and in one remarkable, multi-layered sequence, giving three of the male characters an insight into one, er, unique aspect of womanhood. Interwoven with the central relationship is a beguiling subplot recounted in flashback dealing with yet another tragic romance. This time between a mysterious young woman and the River God played, interestingly, as gender ambiguous by actress Lin Chi-lin.

On a technical level Monkey King 3 recaptures some of the grandeur of the first movie. Crafted by makeup and digital effects wizards brought in from Hollywood the visuals are among the strongest in contemporary Asian blockbusters. Less concerned with photo-realism than mainstream genre fare than crafting a vivid and wondrous fantasy world, the lush over-saturated colours, lavish costumes, gravity-defying set-pieces (the most surreal of which involves the characters chasing an impish reanimated scroll whilst fighting giant scorpions) and astonishing fantastical creatures are spellbinding. Yet though the third act contrives a spectacular monster movie climax it is the depth of the characters and their unexpectedly engaging relationships that keep things compelling.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 681 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: