Coincidentaly, both Peter Ho and Aaron Kwok have played the character of Cloud from the popular HK manhwa, Storm Riders adaptation. Ho appeared in the drama version while Kwok was in live-action movie version. See more »
With director Soi Cheang delivering such dark thrillers like the amazing Dog Bite Dog and Shamo, etc, I was quite curious as to how this adaptation of the world famous story was brought to the big screen.
I mean, it hasn't been that long since the awesome Jackie Chan, Jet Li vehicle, The Forbidden Kingdom with Jet Li as the Monkey King.
And then there was the awesome Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons, from the fantastic Stephen Chow Sing Chi.
And now, The Monkey King with the incredible Donnie Yen as the titular hero...
First of, even at 2 hours long, The Monkey King feels somewhat longer. Saying that, it is a visual feast that sometimes wins with its CGI and quite often doesn't, reminding me of the fist attempts at Hong Kong effects-filled movies like, Storm Riders and A Man Called Hero.
Often slow burning, with average fantasy action scenes and wire-fu, The Monkey King is rife with amazing characters from Chinese mythology, including one of my favourites, little Nezha and his flamed wheels on his feet!
Cast wise, Chow Yun Fat looks as cool as always as the Jade Emperor, and the gorgeous Aaron Kwok plays the Bull King - although looks slightly bored in doing so. And then there is Donnie Yen.
I love Donnie. Always have, for about 30 years now, and feel that since his explosion in the US, critics have been harsh on him for his choice in roles - no matter how many he is dishing out.
As the Monkey King, I think Donnie pulls of an amazing job, making me sometimes wonder who I am looking at. His performance is pretty damn good, working through a host of emotions and physical roles alongside a bevvy of great characters.
Overall though, I think the film just falls short of amazing. I feel it is something that needs to be seen in 3D to be appreciated more, but also feel that it was an unneeded remake of sorts, that didn't offer anything exciting but the use of its visual flair.
Action fans will be disappointed, but I hope this film finds a place in the family friendly section of all film fans and can be seen at least once..!
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