Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back

2017

Adventure / Comedy / Family / Fantasy

35
IMDb Rating 5.4 10 2,527

Synopsis


Downloaded times
April 25, 2020

Director

Cast

Stephen Chow as Puddin Lai
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
996.86 MB
1280*720
Chinese 2.0
PG-13
23.976 fps
109 min
P/S N/A / N/A
2 GB
1920×1080
Chinese 2.0
PG-13
23.976 fps
109 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Skaigear 5 / 10 / 10

Even those who love everything Journey to the West or the Monkey King should only check it out if it was free

Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back is a sequel to 2013's Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, which I really liked. It is directed by Hong Kong veteran, Tsui Hark and written by Stephen Chow, who did not return to direct this one. The movie stars an all-new cast playing characters from the first movie, with the only person returning being Shu Qi. The first movie I thought was a really good Stephen Chow movie without Stephen Chow, and what really worked for me were the characters and their likability and humor. I really liked Wen Zhang and Shu Qi's chemistry with each other, and it made me root for their forbidden love to come to fruition. This movie loses Wen Zhang, being replaced by Kris Wu, and Shu Qi is delegated to a cameo appearance, and man are they big losses, because the actors in this movie did not hold up well at all. Neither did the script though, as frankly I felt this movie is just a mess. Drastic character changes out of the blue, inconsistencies and conveniences to push the plot forward litters throughout. Unlike the first film where it was more of a prelude to the classical story, Demons Strike Back actually plays out the episodic narrative from the classical novel, with memorable arcs such as the spider demons and white skeleton being rendered in Stephen Chow slapstick style. We actually get to see Tang Monk along with the three disciples he conquered during the first movie journeying to the west this time around. While the plot moves along episodically, the main focus here is the tension between Tang and the Monkey King, as the former still blames the latter for Shu Qi's character's death. This relationship between master and disciple is so poorly written I spent the entire time not really caring for either character, since they themselves do not seem to care judging by the terrible things they do to one another. Tang is having visions of Shu Qi from the first movie, and blames the Monkey King for her death. I am very disappointed to see this is route they went with for the sequel, after all Shu Qi tempted Tang the entire first movie, but he did not once gave in once to her. Now that he is enlightened and is journeying west, all of a sudden he is lusting for her? That just seems very inconsistent. But I guess consistency is the last thing you should expect in these types of movies. Even though Stephen Chow did not return to direct the movie, his style of humor is still emulated here. However, being a Chow fan since I was a kid, I was sorely disappointed with how unfunny this movie was. Not that they did not try, but the actors just do not have the comedic chops to pull off this type of humor. At times, things got really dumb and silly with a mind control dancing scene which is recycled from the first movie, and a crying grown man trying to pass as funny. Another thing that was off putting was the characterization of Piggy, who was always a pervert, but never the serial rapist as he was in this one. He literally attempts to rape every girl he encounters and it is played for laughs. As someone who has watched enough interpretations of Journey to the West, this was simply not funny and kind of ruined things for me. I did chuckle a few times throughout, and there are a few good gags such as when Sandy got turn back into a giant fish, but overall this was not the clever Stephen Chow film I am accustomed to. The action in the film was good, but it is typical C-grade special effects-laden Chinese film affair. There was never a moment where I felt danger for any of the characters because the build-up to these action scenes tends to be humorous and lacking of tension. The main highlight for me is definitely the spider demons scene, it is by the far the most exciting action set piece in the movie. The CGI is pretty average, but at least the Chinese and Hong Kong film industries are improving in this department since the disastrous eye sore that was the Donnie Yen Monkey King movie. Kris Wu, former K-pop star musters all of his charms and good looks and gives out a fine performance as Tang. Lin Gengxin, the Monkey King was intense and likable. The rest of the cast did the best they could, but as I mentioned before, they were simply not funny enough in my opinion. The best thing about the movie was the definitely the collection of attractive Chinese ladies assembled here. Yao Chen, Wang Likun and Lin Yun are all beautiful and charming. I love my female eye candy, and whenever these actresses were on screen, my eyes were glued. Overall the movie is very pedestrian, but passable popcorn affair. Not horrible by any means, definitely watchable for some colorful action scenes. However, too many misses on jokes and poor plot and character developments cannot save the movie from mediocrity. Even those who love everything Journey to the West or the Monkey King should only check it out if it was free and you have a couple of hours to spare.

Reviewed by moviexclusive 3 / 10 / 10

Witless, charmless and ultimately pointless, this sequel is notable only for Tsui Hark's visual excesses as compensation for its sheer emptiness

Just by the fact that 'Journey to the West 2 (JTTW2): The Demons Strike Back' represents the first-ever collaboration between Hong Kong cinema icons Stephen Chow and Tsui Hark should make you excited about this sequel to Chow's 2013 fantasy comedy, which concluded with the monk Tang Sanzang embark on the titular journey to retrieve the Buddhist sutras that the classic source material is best known for. Whereas Zhang Wen played the timid and tentative Tang in the earlier movie, it is former Exo band member Kris Wu who has been cast here; ditto, not Huang Bo or Chen Bing Qiang or Lee Sheung Ching reprise their roles as Tang's companions Monkey King, Pigsy and Sandy respectively, which are now played by Hark's latest muse Lin Gengxin, Yang Yiwei and Mengke Bateer – and just for the record, only the earlier movie's Shu Qi returns to cameo as Miss Duan, a fellow demon exerciser whom Tang admitted being in love with only upon her accidental death at Monkey King's hands. Oh yes, the lack of continuity is somewhat puzzling, considering how it has only been four years since and the story here follows from the earlier movie. Yet it becomes distinctly clear during the 109-minute movie which feels like it goes on for twice as long that the much touted Chow-Hark collaboration here is really just a gimmick, as well that the almost total change in cast from the original represents not just the cash- grab intentions of this sequel but also the importance – or lack thereof – which both Chow in his capacity as writer cum producer and Hark in his as director have placed on artistic considerations. Indeed, 'JTTW2: The Demons Strike Back' is a witless, charmless and pointless, whose search for its own story is even more obvious than Tang's search for the sutras and which tries copiously to use CGI to compensate for its glaring absences. Put it simply, this is an utter disappointment, marking one of the most humourless Chow comedies we've seen and an awful misstep for the 66-year-old Tsui on a second-wave of his illustrious but uneven directorial oeuvre following 'Detective Dee' and 'The Taking of Tiger Mountain'. First and fundamentally, there is no story here, meandering from a travelling circus where Tang's attempt to show the villagers that he and his disciples are capable of magic results in total destruction of the humble village, then to an isolated compound in the woods where a female spider demon and her consorts have killed its inhabitants and are waiting to devour Tang, and lastly to a carnival-like kingdom in India where a Minister (Yao Chen) and her servile king (Bao Bei'er) bait Tang with a white-boned spirit Felicity (Jelly Lin from 'The Mermaid'). Connecting the three acts is supposedly the rekindled resentment between Tang and Monkey King, the former still alternately crushed and angry over the death of Miss Duan and the latter boiling over the former's hold over him. And yet, the narrative is anything but character-driven, chiefly because Chow doesn't develop their conflict to be anywhere near compelling or resolve it in any convincing, let alone poignant, way. The rest really is either distraction or filler. How else would you describe Pigsy's one-note lecherous tendencies, which sees him turn into a handsome scholarly type in front of female beauty? Or Sandy's poisoning at the hands of one of the spider demons, which causes him to turn into a giant mucus-blowing fish similar to his introduction at the start of the first movie? Pigsy and Sandy add little to the dynamic between Tang and Monkey King, used here only as comic relief. The same can be said of the demons that they encounter along their way, the eight-legged ones leading to a battle that briefly alludes to Tang's humanism versus Monkey King's violence and goes no further and the subsequent no more than an excuse for Tsui to flex his CGI muscles to conjure up an epic showdown in the middle of a crashing ocean with a giant rock monkey, numerous false Buddhas and an immortal gold vulture. Had your measure of entertainment been premised on CGI, you would probably be squealing delightfully. Since his 'Legend of Zu' days, Tsui has loved creating fantasy worlds with the use of technology, and its advancements have only led him to think bigger. Yet there is only so much that Tsui as a visual magician can do to salvage a movie which had very little to begin with, which we suspect was the reason why Chow decided to get someone else to do the directing (rather than bear the ignominy alone); and in turn, Tsui compensates and over-compensates with his excesses, which ultimately only underscores how empty and meaningless this whole affair is. It is even more inexcusable seeing as how Chow is intimately familiar with the 'Journey to the West' tales coming off his other revisionist telling 'A Chinese Odyssey' in the 90s. There are hardly any bits of humour here, and even Chow's signature tricks (such as characters calling each other '扑街') become exhaustive and pandering. The cast has hardly any chemistry, especially inexcusable seeing as how Chow has always stressed finding the right actors (even those with no prior experience, like Kitty Zhang or Jelly Lin) in his movies. And there is no purpose here, given how Tang is no closer to retrieving his scriptures at the end of it and how Tang and Monkey King seem to have found closure to their differences like in the last movie. The fact that this had been a promising Chow-Tsui collaboration makes watching 'JTTW2: The Demons Strike Back' even more dispiriting, so just avoid this journey at all costs and go find somewhere else to walk, just anywhere else really.

Reviewed by UnderworldRocks 3 / 10 / 10

Why change the cast?

Canadian "Cannon King" Wu Yifan cannot act. His performance is cringeworthy. This movie is no match for the original. I award it 3 stars. 1 star for the humorous dialogue between the Spider Demon and the Pig Demon. Something was lost in translation. In Chinese, the word for "spider" is homophonic to "a pig". They both sound like "zhizhu". Such is the humor of the scene where the Pig Demon was infatuated with the Spider Demon, and the Spider Demon refused, saying she was "zhizhu", and the Pig replied, "I'm also zhizhu." 1 star for the flashback cameos of Shu Qi, who portrayed the dead lover of the Monk Tang. It's always great to see her. 1 star for the Skeleton Demon. The portrayal of the Skeleton Demon is very anti-traditional. In this movie. she was an innocent and kind demon who fell in love with the Monk Tang. That's news. The actress was great in Stephen Chow's 2016 Movie The Mermaid. Such a disappointment that the actors from the original did not return.

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