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JOURNEY TO THE WEST Movie Review

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You’ve never seen anything like a Steven Chow film and Journey to the West is no exception. Chow once again delivers a unique action adventure with a bit of humor and music thrown in for good measure.

A monster emerges from the sea to terrorize a small fishing village. It is part dragon, part cat and all sorts of badass. A holy man comes to kill the monster, but ends up angering it more. An amazing battle sequence ensues with villagers finally defeating it. The monster is in fact a water demon. Known as the Sand Monk, one of the many demons that terrorize the world.

Xuan Zang (Wen Zhang), a naive monk uses non-violent methods to reform the demons. He sings from a book of 300 Nursery Rhymes instead of engaging them in battle. He embarks on an epic journey to reform the demons. Along the way he faces off against the cannibal cook K.L. Hog (Chen Bing Qiang) and Sun Wukong (Huang Bo), the wily Monkey King.
Along the way he encounters other demon hunters who rely on violent and humorous methods to defeat the demons. Notable he meets a love interest and rival, Duan (Shu Qi). Xuan is continually outmatched and finds that his non-violent methods are not as effective.
The film opens with a bang during the battle with the fish demon and I am happy to report that there are more moment of pure awesome. My personal favorites were the battle with the Hog and the Sand Monk. Unfortunately there is a bit too much wacky journey for my liking. The scenes leading up the battle with Sun Wukong seemed to drag on forever.
I feel that Journey to the West was not as good as Chow’s prior outings because he did not star in the lead role. He is the master of directing hilarious over-the-top action sequences, but what makes his films even more awesome is the fact that he stars in them.
The fight sequences are wonderfully choreographed and the visual effects are cool, and in the final fight sequence rather psychedelic. The romantic relationship between Xuan and Duan was a nice touch to add some positive non-action oriented moments to the film.
Journey to the West arrives in theaters and on demand March 7. The film is a lot of fun, but I would recommend you check out Shaolin Soccer and Kung-Fu Hustle before watching this.
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The Author

Jim Napier

Jim Napier

Movie watcher. Physical media collector. Pizza lover. Bipolar/Anxiety. Animal advocate. Co-founder of ScreenInvasion.com.