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Journey to the West (2013)

Xi you: Xiang mo pian (original title)
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Tang Sanzang, an aspiring Buddhist hero tries to protect a village from three demons. He develops complex feelings for Miss Duan, the demon hunter who repeatedly helps him, and finally quests to meet the legendary Monkey King.

Directors:

Stephen Chow, Chi-kin Kwok (co-director) (as Derek Kwok)

Writers:

Stephen Chow (as Xingchi Zhou), Chi-kin Kwok (as Zijian Guo) | 6 more credits »
1 win & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Animation

An animated version of the mythical Chinese hero.

Director: Stephen Chow
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Qi Shu ... Duan Xiaojie / Miss Duan
Zhang Wen ... Xuan Zang
Bo Huang ... Sun Wukong / Monkey King
Show Lo ... Kongxu Gongzi / Prince Important (as Zhixiang Luo)
Sheung-ching Lee Sheung-ching Lee ... Sha Seng (as Shangzheng Li)
Bingqiang Chen Bingqiang Chen ... Zhu Ganglie / KL Hog
Sihan Cheng Sihan Cheng ... Wuming Shifu / Master Nameless
Xing Yu ... Beidou Wuxing Quan / Fist of the North Star (as Xingyu)
Zhengyu Lu ... Killer Yi
Chi Ling Chiu ... Killer Er
Di Yang Di Yang ... Killer San
Chrissie Chau ... Killer Si
Hangyu Ge Hangyu Ge ... Killer Wu / Short Monkey King
Min Hun Fung ... Taoist Priest
Lun Yeung Lun Yeung ... Mayor
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Storyline

Tang Sanzang, an aspiring Buddhist hero tries to protect a village from three demons. He develops complex feelings for Miss Duan, the demon hunter who repeatedly helps him, and finally quests to meet the legendary Monkey King.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on the original story that inspired the international cult classic TV series Monkey. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence including bloody images, some sexual content and partial nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Facebook | Official Site | See more »

Country:

China | Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

7 February 2013 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

Journey to the West See more »

Filming Locations:

Heng Dian, China

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,456, 9 March 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$18,058

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$215,018,058
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby Atmos)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first Stephen Chow movie since CJ7 (2008). See more »

Connections

Followed by Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Opening Theme of Da Hua Xi You II
Composed by Jiping Zhao
Administered by Music Copyright Society of China
See more »

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User Reviews

 
It doesn't star Stephen Chow, but this "Journey to the West" is quintessentially Chow in its blend of action, comedy and romance that guarantees a rip-roaringly hilarious time
31 January 2013 | by moviexclusiveSee all my reviews

Can any earnest Stephen Chow fan be blamed for eagerly anticipating his "Journey to the West"? Aside from the fact that it marks his first movie in four years, it promises a return to the inimitable blend of slapstick comedy, kung fu and romance which Chow had so successfully parlayed into a winning formula in the duology "A Chinese Odyssey: Part One – Pandora's Box" and "A Chinese Odyssey: Part Two – Cinderella" – never mind that Chow does not reprise his role as the "Monkey King" or for that matter have any starring role in this new movie.

Fortunately, Chow's fans can rest easy – despite not having any physical presence in the movie, this "Journey" is classic Chow from the acting to the writing and to the directing, the latter two roles of which he is credited for in addition to producing the movie. And perhaps the best news of it all is that Chow returns to the sheer inspired inanity and hilarity of "Shaolin Soccer" and "Kung Fu Hustle", so be prepared to be rib-tickled silly by the misadventures of Miss Duan (Shu Qi) and Xuan Zang (Zhang Wen) in demon country.

Those familiar with the classic "Journey to the West" novel will know that Xuan Zang is also known as Tripitaka, who would be entrusted by Guanyin with the mission of recovering the sacred texts together with three disciples – Monkey King, Zhu Bajie and Sand Monk. Chow leaves that tale for the inevitable sequel; rather, in this movie, he fashions in essence a prequel, where Xuan Zang is no more than an amateur demon hunter yet to attain enlightenment, Monkey King or Sun Wukong (Huang Bo) is a conniving demon imprisoned in a cave by Buddha, Zhu Bajie is a pig demon called KL Hogg (Chen Bing Qiang) who especially kills women who lust after handsome men, and Sand Monk (Lee Sheung Qing) is a half-fish half-beast water demon who wrecks havoc on fishing communities living near the water.

You'll do well to remember that each demon you see on screen is of significance; otherwise you may be wondering why the screenplay, credited to Chow and seven other writers seems to dwell too excessively on each particular demon-slaying encounter – beginning with Sand Monk, then KL Hogg and finally to Sun Wukong. Indeed, the movie is really made up of these three distinct sequences, with the exception of one more that builds on the budding romance between Xuan Zang and his much more skilled and experienced fellow demon hunter Miss Duan.

Within that narrative structure, Chow constructs four elaborately staged battles that combine his brand of quirky humour, choreographer Ku Huen Chiu's imaginative action and production designer Bruce Yu's richly conceived sets with some truly impressive CGI that rivals anything you have seen so far in Chinese cinema. Thankfully, Chow doesn't get caught up with putting on the best visual effects show; in fact, with an inspired and confident directorial hand, he balances all these elements deftly, never forgetting that his audience is expecting nothing less than his signature brand of laughs.

Right from the start, you'll know that Chow's comedic sensibilities are at his sharpest. He takes his time to set each scene – for instance, in the first sequence, a charlatan is seen tricking the villagers that a giant sting ray he had blasted dead in the water was responsible for one of their own's death, so much so that when the real culprit (i.e. the water demon) appears, that entrance is even more dramatic. Ditto for the appearance of KL Hogg and Sun Wukong, whose appearances in full glory are again preceded by red herrings that make the 'coming-out' more impactful.

Chow again demonstrates an exceptional ability to juggle comedy and tragedy – here, in engineering humour amidst the deaths of others by the respective demons – and it is to his credit again that placing these two elements side by side in every sequence does not make the movie any tonally jarring at any point. And of course, as with all his films, this one features his unique brand of exaggerated slapstick - like the obscenely over-sized woman who comes to save the day (think "Kung Fu Hustle" and "CJ7") or the occasional gross joke that involves some inappropriate kissing – and his cheeky tendencies of confounding genre stereotypes.

In place of his mug, Chow has found his proxy in the form of Mainland actor Zhang Wen. It is said that Chow shows his actors just how he expects them to act in every scene, and in the case of Zhang Wen, we are sure Chow must have showed Zhang the way he would have played the role himself. You can almost see Chow through Zhang's rubber-faced mannerisms - and the same goes for Huang Bo, who plays the mischievous Sun Wukong with more than a hint of Stephen Chow.

Chow also fashions the love story between Zhang and Shu Qi the way he and co-star Athena Chu used to in the 'A Chinese Odyssey' films, and there are certain recognizable shades of similarities in the relationship between Xuan Zhang/ Miss Duan and Monkey King/ Zixia in the latter. Nonetheless, Shu Qi isn't simply a stand-in for Athena Chu – fearsome when fighting demons like an oriental Tomb Raider and yet amorous when it comes to romancing Xuan Zhang, she is thoroughly alluring from start to end in the very sexy and sassy manner we would expect from her.

So really, there's little to worry even though you won't see Stephen Chow in the movie – every bit of it is quintessentially Chow. Like his 'A Chinese Odyssey' movies, this "Journey" has action, comedy, romance and the additional ingredient of CGI to ensure an alternately amusing and suspenseful and thrilling ride from start to finish.


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