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Xi you ji zhi: Sun Wukong san da Baigu Jing
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Monkey King 2 More at IMDbPro »Xi you ji zhi: Sun Wukong san da Baigu Jing (original title)

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19 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Mostly visually amazing, but not as into the story as I hoped

Author: subxerogravity from United States
11 February 2016

I know the Monkey King is a huge thing in China. I herd about it before and have see the American adaption, the Forbidden Kingdom, with Jet Li as the Monkey king.

This movie was visually bad ass. I loved the design of the title character. All the CGI actually worked to make the movie feel very big and very epic. It makes me wish it was released in IMAX here in the States, not just in 3D. The final battle in the movie was mind blowing.

But I just did not get into the tale of the Monkey King. I don't know why this story is so popular and the movie did nothing to change this thought. It was suppose to be funny in certain places, but I did not get it and it just seem that a lot of things were happen just to produce a cool special effect for it, not to drive any story.

It was fun to look at but not the most compelling story, speaking as someone unfamiliar with the story being told

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Much much better than the first movie

Author: tdevil9 from United Kingdom
29 April 2016

I wasn't expecting a sequel after watching the disappointing first film that was 2 years behind the original scheduled release. Despite the plethora of well-known actors/actresses, it turned out to be a huge disappointment due to the deviation from the original story. Chow Yun Fat was the most miscast actor when he was chosen to play the Jade Emperor :(

I'm glad to say that this sequel is much better than the first movie in every aspect. The script focuses mainly on Sun Wukong and the Bone Demoness. The monk is left to look like a bumbling idiot. He looks and acts like the same role in the Stephen Chow's Journey to the West. Aaron Kwok's portrayal of Sun Wukong is much less flamboyant than Donnie Yen's portrayal - and for that, I am glad.

The special effects are very well done, which is a relief considering the disaster in the first movie. If I hadn't watched Iron Man or Harry Potter before, I would be even more impressed with some of the effects in the final battle scene.

Gong Li visual presence was, for me, the epitome of womanhood :)

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10 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

A spectacle of epic proportions!!!

Author: William O. Tyler from California
18 February 2016

The Monkey King 2 picks up right where the first Monkey King left off, continuing the story based on the legendary Journey to the West tales. This sequel is quite a level up from the first in a lot of ways. It's calmer and all around more precise and focused in its filmmaking, which in itself makes for a better upgrade, but the special effects and overall look of the film have been ratcheted up as well. Not that the previous installment was bad, but The Monkey King 2 finally presents a version of this classic Chinese story that lives up to its original epic otherworldliness.

The film is beautifully and intricately designed. The sets are grand, even when they aren't really there. The costumes are lavish, holding great detail and weight. From monkey fur to pig nose, the makeup effects are stunning and amusing. The fight sequences are dramatically extraordinary, as they should be for deities at battle, with great choreographed wirework for literal high-flying action. The CG animation is not the absolute best, but even that doesn't deter from the film. There's so much going on anyway that nothing is ever able to pull you out of the adventure. There is always something else more beyond belief to draw your eye. Since the film was actually shot in 3D, not converted to the format afterwards, it perfectly matches the bigger than life feel of the film and is extremely successful and atmospheric.

The Monkey King is the stuff of legends, and the actors here are perfectly cast in a rich variety of characters. Xiaoshenyang is an adorably perverted piggy Zhu Bajie, Him Law makes a hefty brute in Sha Wujing and Feng Shaofeng comes honest as monk Tang Sanzang. Li Gong is absolutely flawless as the villainous White Bone Demon, a knockout that throws back to classic female villains that are as deadly as they are beautiful. She is formidable. This is what Angelina Jolie should have been in Maleficent. Likewise for her henchwomen and their entrance into the film is a dazzling moment of horror. Aaron Kwok, starring as The Monkey King himself, gives a smoother portrayal than his predecessor. I'm unsure if it was a character choice after the events of the first movie or an actor's choice to make the character a little cooler, but it's a good choice nonetheless, making him simultaneously more relatable and dreamy, but still with his playful monkey mannerisms and charm.

The Monkey King 2 is a top notch spectacle, in incredible 3D, that puts Hollywood's latest over the top endeavors to shame. With movies like Gods of Egypt, and all of its gloriously shiny cultural appropriation, happening more often than not, it is wonderful to see a big budget film made by and for its own culture. It adds more than authenticity. It's also amazing to see how majorly the movie has done in the Chinese box office. No doubt due to its timed release around the Chinese New Year, celebrating the year of the monkey, the film has already set a world record of $548 million in one week, topping Star Wars: The Force Awakens which previously held the spot. And The Monkey King 2 well deserves all the success that the year of the monkey brings to it.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Spiritual Journey with Man-pigs, Blue Guy and a Giant Skeleton

Author: masercot from Manassas, Va
27 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just watched this on pay per view after seeing the first one last week on Netflix.

Not going to compare the first to the second, except to say that the second movie has better special effects; otherwise, it's two different movies with two different casts. I enjoyed both.

This movie concerns the maturation of the Monkey King. After being imprisoned for five hundred years to learn humility, meditation and how to live in a very tiny space, Wudong is freed by a monk, but forced to aid the monk in his quest for a holy scroll by a torture crown that causes pain when the monk chants.

There are a lot of fun but baffling fight scenes in this one. Wudong fights a pig-man and a blue man who are both allies, it turns out. There are some nifty demons. And, of course, the fact that there is a giant skeleton who is made out of smaller skeletons goes without saying...

The acting in this one was good and the effects were great. What didn't I like? The subtitles were just awful... unreadable at least half the time. My Mandarin is a little rusty, so it made the plot hard to follow much of the time.

So, I can recommend this movie. There is the death of a child and torture of children, so I'd advise no one younger than teenager to watch.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fun fantasy adventure

Author: jasonlock-11608 from Canada
9 July 2016

I really enjoyed it, it was a fun action fantasy romp, and I love the various Journey to the West stories. I didn't see the first Monkey King, it had such poor reviews so I didn't bother. Anyway, Monkey King 2 completely feels like its' own entity, it is a different story from the book and the Monkey King origin story has been told many times before.

Aaron Kwok is a delight to watch. I can't say how he compared to Donnie Yen but he's so lovable. It's FUN, often funny. Gong Li is very hammy, and couldn't chew the scenery more, but it's within the tone of the film. It really is a riveting family adventure from start to finish

It contains the usual overabundance of CG which all these Chinese blockbusters have, but the quality isn't awful this time! Much better than some of the video-game level effects I've seen recently in others. There is a lot of practical wire-work amidst the wash of particle effects and glowy things. Most importantly, the charisma of the stars shines through it.

I saw this on a trip to China, I don't know if it received, or will receive a release in the West, but it should. It will probably turn up in the Netflix graveyard at some point. It's better than most cookie- cutter American fantasy blockbusters, with, of course due to the nature of the source text, much better lessons and values sitting underneath the action than 'yet another Hero's Journey story' as Hollywood pumps out again and again.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Very very disappointed

Author: tcytcy from Singapore
28 April 2016

Firstly, the plot progresses very very slow. The characters speak slow, actions are slow and the attacks are slow. As a result, i cant get sucked into the action atmosphere.

Secondly, i think that teach of the characters are not being portrayed as they should have been. It just doesn't do the legend justice. the make up and dressing of the characters are also a little too over the top. Aaron Kwok tried his best to act, but the make-up and script failed him - the choice of words were...

A lot of the actions were very unnecessary thus causing the characters to be portrayed in a different light. These unnecessary details were given way too much air time. I got bored at the 20 minute mark and gave up hoping for a good show at the 40 minute mark.

Also, i am not sure if this is supposed to include comedy in its genre but i am seeing a lot of small silly actions (that would make one laugh in normal circumstances) right in the middle of a battle.

Im just very disappointed. Some may disagree with me. but on the bright side, gong li killed her role. Wished she could be more menacing though.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Monkey King Havoc in Heaven's Palace was our first choice.

Author: gregsachoff
7 July 2016

Love the movie. Thought it was entertaining and my kids wanted to see it again. But we all agree Donnie Yen was a better choice for The Monkey King / Sun Wu Kong The Monkey King Havoc in Heaven's Palace was our first choice and favorite among the two so far. Havoc in Heaven's Palace seem to have more story structure and the kids liked the characters better and loved the historical fight scenes with Donnie Yen's Character. My wife seemed to like the most the musical score of the film and we purchased the soundtrack in which we listen to quite often.

My Kids also each wanted there own Blu-Ray in which I purchased for all three of them. With anything the first is always the better of the two but recommend both.

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9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Ascended into greater heights, Monkey King embarks on a genuine mythical journey.

Author: quincytheodore from Indonesia
6 February 2016

When the first Monkey King premiered there was lofty expectation, yet what we got was lackluster ancient mythology with outdated graphic. Understandably, this can hinder audience's interest for the sequel, but worry not, "The Monkey King 2" is leagues above its predecessor, using better animation, excellent production and friendlier characters to deliver a more amicable magical tale.

This is the story of Sun Wukong as he first meets with Tang Sanzang, the monk who will journey to the west to get the scripture. Perhaps this story will be familiar to Asian audience, and it's refreshing to see it's presented with gorgeous modern presentation. Aaron Kwok as Sun Wukong is arguably better than Donnie Yen, he has more zeal which fits the scrappy Monkey King better, specifically with his body language. Granted, he enjoys higher level of production to create the persona.

Gong Li as Lady White fits as the villain. One can't go wrong in casting a charismatic actor and polish her character in CG, costume and make-up. She brings a heavier impact to every scene she's in. This also translates to other characters as well. Lady White's fellow monsters are uniquely portrayed as half women half beast, almost similar to something from Del Toro's universe and the make-up doesn't disappoint.

Rendition of the monk, Baije and Wujing always spark interest, and the version this movie produces is definitely cordial. Their attires change throughout the phases as they're displayed in flashy fashion yet still recognizable in the intricacy. A few comedic moments are pleasantly delivered with good chemistry. It is simply a better cast in general than the first movie had.

The most improvement is seen in CG department, which looks breathtaking as a fantasy adventure even in first glance. Settings as well as costume present a delicate balance with its contrasting color. Each event grants a distinct unique view as the group travels through cities and villages. At some points it even resembles another journey from the West, "Lord of The Ring" in its natural splendor and enigmatic creature.

It is not without flaws, although these are not major by any means. The plot tries to create more perspectives, but its core story is no different than many Monkey King shows from TV and movie. Ironically, the familiar sense can be too predictable. The visual can get sketchy as well, but for the most parts they hold up nicely, its more intense scenes are definitely visually pleasing.

Brandishing new graphic, cast and vista, this is a leap to silver screen fitting for the name of "Monkey King"

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

previous part is much better

Author: rajatshanu64 from India
31 July 2016

here i am with the monkey king 2 i am expecting something great with this part because it's first one part is awesome but this one not as good as one but still fine maybe you will laugh on that pig face monster men i don't like this story at all there is not aim they just decide a aim in beginning but they didn't complete in end this is very negative point in this part monkey king got a teacher or Guru in beginning both guru and monkey kind have different ways of thinking so any lord gives him target to go together and find a book or something and they go and in end guru says to monkey kill his for a reason to save a evil women for she can be in a good way and not much interest i found even this time it's activity is not funny as in previous part

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11 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

In every respect better than its predecessor by a huge measure, 'The Monkey King 2' ushers in the Lunar Year of the Monkey in exuberant spirited fashion

Author: moviexclusive from Singapore
4 February 2016

With a movie like 'The Monkey King', the only way you could go with a sequel is up, so it really isn't that surprising that 'The Monkey King 2' is a few notches better than its predecessor. Yet the two years since the release of that dull and expensive CGI eyesore sees its helmer Soi Cheang find poise, imagination and inspiration to deliver a much more assured, entertaining, and engaging cinematic rendition of the legendary 'Journey to the West' story, bolstered in no small measure by an irrepressibly lively turn by Aaron Kwok – replacing the original's Donnie Yen – as the titular Sun Wukong and excellent CGI by no less than the folks behind 'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit'.

Now that his origins are out of the way, this second chapter – set 500 years after he was imprisoned by the Goddess of Mercy – sees the young and ingenuous Tang Priest Xuanzang (Feng Shaofeng) free Wukong from under the clutches of the Five Elements Mountain after being pursued by a white tiger. Unbeknowst to Wukong, their encounter has in fact been predestined by the Goddess (Kelly Chen) herself, who has given Wukong the quest of protecting Xuanzang on his journey to retrieve some sacred scriptures. Unbeknownst to Wukong, two other characters have been given similar assignments – one, the half-man half-pig Zhu Bajie (Xiao Shenyang); and two, the Sand Demon Sha Wujing (Him Law) – thus completing the quadfecta of characters most commonly associated with the classic story.

Opting wisely not to cover too much ground, a newly appointed quartet of screenwriters (including Ran Ping and Ran Jianan, Elvis Man and Yin Yiyi) instead pick a famous segment from Wu Cheng'en's classical novel to form the backbone for this film, that of Wukong defeating the White Boned Demon (or 白骨精). The latter has been terrorising the wealthy Silk Road Kingdom of Yun for years, but her latest target is Xuanzang, whose flesh she believes will help her gain immortality. Those familiar with the source novel will remember the famous 'three strikes' between Wukong and the White Boned Demon - first as a village girl, second as an elderly woman and third as an elderly man – but rather than a literal adaptation, the writers have re-interpreted the text more broadly as a three-round fight between the Demon and Wukong, with the last reserved for an epic CGI-heavy battle that has the Demon transforming into a towering half-bodied skeleton.

Oh yes, that last sequence alone is probably the most breathtaking that we've seen in any Chinese film thus far, a combination of good old Hong Kong action-on-wirework and modern-day CGI to re-define the fantasy epic genre. In fact, Cheang seems to have adopted the template set by his Hollywood counterparts for this sequel, constructing his film as a compendium of thrilling action sequences with enough story, humour and character development to serve as narrative glue in between.

Replacing Yen as action director is none other than Sammo Hung, and the latter's penchant for showy, flamboyant moves over the former's more grounded style proves a surprisingly better fit for the genre. Seemingly relishing the opportunity to be disencumbered from the forces of gravity, Hung hardly keeps his characters feet on the ground, preferring instead to send them soaring up into the heights of heaven or circling in the air while battling each other or one another. In particular, Kwok's months of martial arts training to prepare for this role has paid off handsomely, rewarding him with a deft physicality to match his naturally buoyant personality.

Cheang has also obviously benefited from the experience of the previous film in working with effects-heavy sequences, such that the visuals here boast a dynamism which its predecessor often lacked. Equally, Cheang is a lot more at ease juggling comedy, drama and action, striking the right balance between lightness and sobriety – and the result is a film that knows when to take itself seriously and when to just have fun. The humour is wacky and well-timed, not only from Wukong's cheekiness but also from Bajie's willingness to poke fun at his pigsy look; while the drama emphasises Wukong and Xuanzang's conflicting principles, the former who sees no need to show mercy to those who do evil and the latter who is a firm believer of mercy regardless.

As much as we hate to admit it, Kwok is a much better 'Monkey King' than Yen – not only is he much more spirited than Yen ever was, Kwok is also a much more expressive actor, and even under layers of heavy makeup, one feels keenly his sense of playfulness, frustration, indignation, anger, and loyalty to Xuanzang. On the other hand, Gong Li is a much better villain than Kwok was as the Bull Demon King; like Angelina Jolie in 'Maleficient' or Charlize Theron in 'Snow White and the Huntsman', Gong Li exudes elegance and malice in equal measure, so much so that there is never any element of doubt why her two subjects and even the King of Yun Kingdom (Kris Phillips) tremble and quiver in her presence.

Even though it would have made sense for Cheang to step aside for another director to take his place after the embarrassing 2014 original, the choice to return Cheang to the helm is at the end a wise one, allowing this sequel to improve in every respect from story to character to action to drama and ultimately to CGI. No matter how opportunistic it may seem for this sequel to be released right smack at the beginning of the Lunar Year of the Monkey, 'The Monkey King 2' overcomes such cynicism by delivering crowd-pleasing four-quadrant entertainment in exuberant fashion. If it's fun and thrills you're looking for this New Year, it's fun and thrills you'll get.

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