The Monkey King 2

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The Monkey King 2
TheMonkeyKing2.jpg
Film poster
Traditional 西遊記之孫悟空三打白骨精
Cantonese Sai1 Jau4 Gei3 Zi1 Syun1 Ng4 Hung1 Saam1 Daa2 Baak6 Gwat1 Zing1
Directed by Cheang Pou-soi[1]
Produced by Kiefer Liu[1]
Written by Ran Ping[1]
Based on Journey to the West
by Wu Cheng'en
Starring
Music by Christopher Young
Cinematography
  • Yang Tao
  • Cheung Man Po[2]
Edited by Angie Lam[1]
Production
company
Filmko Entertainment
Distributed by Filmko Pictures
China Film Co Ltd
Jiangsu Anshi YingNa Film Distribution
Release date
  • 20 January 2016 (2016-01-20) (Beijing premiere)
  • 6 February 2016 (2016-02-06) (Hong Kong)
  • 8 February 2016 (2016-02-08) (China[1])
Running time
119 minutes[3]
Country
  • Hong Kong
  • China
Language Mandarin[4]
Budget US$60–60.5 million[5][6]
Box office US$193.7 million[7]

The Monkey King 2 is a 2016 Hong Kong-Chinese action fantasy film based on the classic novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en. The film was shot in 3D and is a sequel to the 2014 box office hit The Monkey King with Cheang Pou-soi returning as director and Sammo Hung as action director, who replaces Donnie Yen's role from the previous installment. The film stars Aaron Kwok, who portrayed the main antagonist in the previous installment, as the film's titular protagonist, who also replaces Yen from the previous installment.[8] It was released in the United States on 5 February, in Hong Kong on 6 February and in China on 8 February 2016, [1]

Plot[edit]

500 years after Sun Wukong's (Aaron Kwok) imprisonment under the Five Fingers Mountain, a young Buddhist monk Tang Sanzang (Feng Shaofeng) sets out for a journey to the Thunder Monastery in India to collect Buddha's scriptures. When he is attacked by a tiger, he is forced to free Wukong and the Monkey King learns that he has to protect the monk throughout the journey, because the Bodhisattva Guanyin ensured he would be bound by an enchanted circlet that can cause him pain whenever Tang Sanzang chants a certain sutra. Soon the duo meet Zhu Bajie (Xiaoshenyang), a lustful pig demon, and Sha Wujing (Him Law), a djinn-like monk.

The company travel to the Yun Hai Xi Kingdom, a land terrorized by the White Bone Demon (Gong Li) who has been eating people in order to extend her unnatural life and avoid the Wheel of Reincarnation. As the demoness learns about Sanzang, she decides to eat him in order to stop her reincarnation cycle and achieve everlasting demonhood. She takes the appearance of an old woman and lures the group into a cottage in the woods. To prevent Wukong from using his truth-seeking eyes to see through her disguise immediately, she throws tainted dust into his eyes that clouds his sight. Then while her disguised minions keep Wukong, Bajie and Wujing occupied, the demoness tells Sanzang a story about how she was forced to marry as a young girl, and when her village suffered famine, the people blamed her for it, even calling her an evil demon, and attempted to kill her as a sacrifice to the gods. As Tang comforts the old lady, she attempts to kill him, but is stopped by Wukong. The demoness escapes before Wukong can deal the killing blow and leaves the dead body of the old lady behind. Sanzang and the others don't believe Wukong that all the women he murdered were demons, and blame him for killing the innocent. Sanzang punishes Wukong by chanting the sutra and causing the circlet to tighten painfully on his head. Afterwards, Sanzang climbs to the top of a mountain where Wukong is sulking. Sanzang tells Wukong he thinks they are both very alike, for they both only trust what their own eyes sees. But together, they are better able to discern the truth. This is why they were all chosen to be on this journey together.

The group arrives to the kingdom's capital and the King (Fei Xiang) throws a feast for them, begging Sanzang to exorcise the bloodthirsty demoness from their land. Suddenly Lady White appears and demands the monk, but he offers her his help in enlightenment instead. She tells Wukong that they are both very alike, and tries to persuade Wukong to let her devour the monk, but he deceives her instead and a fight ensues. During the chaos, the King's guards kidnap Sanzang. It is revealed that it's actually been the King kidnapping and killing the children in a desperate attempt to cure himself of a cursed disease by drinking their blood. He tries to kill Sanzang, but Wukong arrives and saves the monk and the surviving children as well. All of the group are celebrated as heroes, but as a little girl approaches Sanzang, Wukong beats her and her mother to death as well, because his truth-seeking eyes perceive both were possessed by the White Bone Demon. In a fit of anger and disbelief, Tang banishes Wukong away. As soon as Wukong leaves, Sanzang gets kidnapped by the demoness.

In the demoness' lair, The White Bone Demon gives Sanzang a day to convince her to give up her evil ways and embrace nonviolence and enlightenment as the true path to immortality. She reveals to him the story she had told him earlier was true, recounting her previous life as a mortal. Right before Sanzang's time is up, he is saved by Wukong at the last minute. Wukong, Baije and Wujing fight the White Bone Demon and her army and finally defeat her, with Wukong mortally wounding her. The Buddha comes down from the Heavens to collect the defeated demoness' soul and banish it to oblivion but Sanzang pleads Buddha to grant her mercy and give Sanzang one last chance to save her soul from destruction. Buddha tells him that he would have to lead her on the path herself, meaning he would have to sacrifice his own life. The monk begs the demoness to show remorse and accept the Wheel of Reincarnation, but the White Bone Demon would rather die as a broken tainted soul in Sanzang's body instead of returning to the Wheel of Reincarnation. Saddened, Tang begs Wukong to kill him, too. The Monkey King refuses at first, but Sanzang explains how he used to think he just had to recite Buddha's teachings to convince people to become good. Now he understands he must also lead by example and do good in order to convince people. Sanzang had to do this for his own journey towards enlightenment. Wukong finally understands the monk's desire to help the demoness change her fate, and tearfully agrees, promising Sanzang to wait for his return. Wukong brings his staff down and Sanzang's body is changed into a statue. In return Sanzang says if he gets a chance to do so in his next life, he would be glad to be Wukong's master again. Because of Sanzang's sacrifice, he succeeds in leading the demoness to her next reincarnation, freeing her of her pain and hatred.

Some time later, Wukong and his friends still wait for the return of the monk, but continue their journey to the Thunder Monastery. Wukong rides on Sanzang's horse with Sanzang's statue strapped to his back. From Heaven, Guanyin drops a bead of water from her magic vase that falls to earth and hits right at Sanzang's hand. The surface cracks, revealing a human finger underneath.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Filmko Entertainment first announced a sequel for The Monkey King on 13 February 2014. Wan Haifeng, Chairman of Filmko, also stated that Louis Koo has confirmed to join the sequel and portray the role of Tang Sanzang, while also negotiating with Chow Yun-fat to reprise his role as the Jade Emperor in the sequel.[9]

Casting[edit]

Aaron Kwok, who portrayed the Bull Demon King in The Monkey King, announced on his Sina Weibo account that he would be portraying Sun Wukong in the sequel, replacing Donnie Yen from the previous installment.[10] To prepare for his role, Kwok took several months of martial arts training before the shoot.[11] During filming, Kwok had to undergo six hours of makeup and an additional three hours to clean it up daily.[1] On 27 November, it was reported that Gong Li will join the cast, portraying the role of Baigujing, the White Skeleton Demon, and will be paid HK$40 million for the role.[12][13] Additional cast members that were announced by Filmko Entertainment later include Feng Shaofeng as Tang Sanzang, a role that was previously reported to be portrayed by Koo, Xiaoshenyang as Zhu Bajie, and Him Law, who portrayed Muzha in the previous installments, as Sha Wujing.[8]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began in December 2014 in Wuxi Studio. The 3D supervisor Sean Kelly from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit joined the production crew.[13] Special Makeup Effects supervised by Shaun Smith.[14] Visual effects supervised by Oscar-nominated VFX Supervisor Jacques Stroweis. Filmko Entertainment is co-producing the film with an additional 11 production companies that were yet to be revealed.[1] On 28 February 2015, main cast members Kwok, Gong, Feng, Xiaoshenyang and Law took blessings at a Buddhist temple in Wuxi as the film was heading into the final stages of filming.[6]

Release[edit]

On 24 December, the film held a press conference in Wuxi where it was attended by the film's producer Kiefer Liu, director Cheang Pou-soi, action director Sammo Hung, and main cast members Aaron Kwok, Gong Li, Feng Shaofeng, Xiaoshenyang, and Him Law. During the event it was announced that the film will be released on 8 February 2016, the first day of the Chinese New Year holiday period, which is also the first day of the Year of the Monkey.[1]

Box office[edit]

The Monkey King opened simultaneously with The Mermaid and From Vegas to Macau III in China and recorded an opening day of US$25 million.[15]

Critical reception[edit]

Elizabeth Kerr of The Hollywood Reporter called the film "a fun spin on a well-worn legend."[2] Maggie Lee of Variety called the film "less of a dud than the director’s inane original".[16] James Marsh of Screen Daily describes the script and the video effects as an improvement on the previous movie.[17] Edward Lee of the South China Morning Post described it as a "vastly improved" sequel.[18]

Rotten Tomatoes lists 5 positive reviews for The Monkey King 2 with an average rating of 7/10.[19]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations
Ceremony Category Recipient Outcome
36th Hong Kong Film Awards Best Action Choreography Sammo Hung Nominated
Best Art Direction Daniel Fu Nominated
Best Costume Makeup Design Yee Chung-Man, Dora Ng Won
Best Sound Design Yin Jay Nominated
Best Visual Effects Luke Sungjin Jung, Sanghoon Kim,
Kim Chan-soo, Kim Chlu-min
Won

Sequel[edit]

A sequel, The Monkey King 3, is scheduled for release in China on February 16, 2018.[20] On December 4, 2016, it was announced that Zhao Liying would play the role of the Ruler of Women's Country.[21] The original cast members of The Monkey King 2; Aaron Kwok, Feng Shaofeng, Xiaoshenyang and Him Law would be reprising their roles as Sun Wukong, Tang Sanzang, Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing respectively in the film.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "《西遊記之孫悟空三打白骨精》劍指猴年春節檔票房冠軍". 
  2. ^ a b Kerr, Elizabeth (February 2, 2016). "'The Monkey King 2': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  3. ^ "THE MONKEY KING 2 [3D] (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 29 January 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  4. ^ "The Monkey King 2". Event Cinemas. 
  5. ^ Francis Eduard Ang (January 30, 2016). "'The Monkey King 2' Gets Global Release". en.yibada.com. backed by a budget of 450 million yuan 
  6. ^ a b ""The Monkey King 2" Enters Final Stages of Filming". 
  7. ^ "The Monkey King 2 in 3D (2016) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. 
  8. ^ a b "Him Law's Big Film Break in "The Monkey King 2"". 
  9. ^ ""The Monkey King 2" is confirmed!". 
  10. ^ "AARON KWOK TAKES OVER THE MONKEY KING 2 FOR DONNIE YEN". 
  11. ^ "Li Gong Refuses to Respond to Questions about Golden Horse Awards In early November". 
  12. ^ "猛料速遞:鞏俐12變撼城城 天價誘唐僧". 
  13. ^ a b "Gong Li Pockets $40 Million HKD for "The Monkey King 2"". 
  14. ^ Jurinko, Mark. "The Monkey King 2: The Characters and Their Creators". Famous Monsters. Philip Kim. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  15. ^ Patrick Brzeski (February 9, 2016). "China Box Office: Stephen Chow's 'Mermaid' Powers Record Single Day". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 9, 2016. 
  16. ^ Lee, Maggie (8 February 2016). "Film Review: 'The Monkey King 2'". 
  17. ^ "'The Monkey King 2': Review". 
  18. ^ "Film review: The Monkey King 2 – Aaron Kwok takes lead in vastly improved fantasy sequel". 
  19. ^ https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_monkey_king_2/
  20. ^ "西游记·女儿国 (2018)". movie.douban.com (in Chinese). douban.com. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  21. ^ "赵丽颖出演《西游记·女儿国》国王 2018年上映". 
  22. ^ "郭富城回归《西游记:女儿国》还演孙悟空". 

External links[edit]