Journey to the West

2013 [CHINESE]

Action / Adventure / Comedy / Fantasy / Romance

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Qi Shu Photo
Qi Shu as Miss Duan
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1008.72 MB
Chinese 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 49 min
P/S 0 / 1
2.02 GB
Chinese 5.1
24 fps
1 hr 49 min
P/S 0 / 9

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DICK STEEL10 / 10

A Nutshell Review: Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons

Truth be told, I wasn't quite impressed with the idea that Stephen Chow had to revisit one of his greatest films, and do another version of it. But Chow had proved me wrong, and had some nifty creative ideas behind what he had wanted to do with another Journey to the West tale, hardly rehashing the earlier Jeff Lau effort. He had managed to keep the strengths of what he is well known for in irreverent comedy, and crafted his best in years, while coming up with yet another new spin to keep things engaging even for the most jaded amongst us on the tale of Monkey King. The trailer, while keeping things really short, now on hindsight was a brilliant little piece of a short prologue, while teasing the audience on a Monkey King appearance that's never been portrayed nor seen before in this form, which does take some getting used to.

But this film, co-directed with Derek Kwok, sets its sights on Tripitaka the monk, or Xuan Zang, instead, before he got preordained into monk-hood. In this re-telling, Xuan Zang (Wen Zhang) is a novice demon-hunter, and a hopeless one at that. He believes that every demon should be shown compassion, and is for non-violence as much as possible, in order to rehabilitate demons that he found, using his book of nursery rhymes which his master claims to be one of the best sutras around for subduing of spirits. Xuan Zang embodies all that is benevolent, consistent in spirit (pardon the pun) what you know of the character, except that he has that thick mop of hair. But despite his lack of skills other than a stout heart, help comes in the form of Ms Duan (Shu Qi),the expertly skilled demon hunter, with her own posse to allow some cameo appearances, who has the hots for Xuan Zang (again playing to the tune that he is someone desirable, as any Journey story goes),and pops up almost always at the right time to save his hide.

Elements from Journey stories include the individual encounters with all his disciples and their tweaked back stories, which credit has to be given to the screenwriters for improvements that worked within the confines of this alternate story they wanted to tell. The highlight is of course how Xuan Zang's first meeting with Sun Wukong (Huang Bo) went, which is as comical and witty as can be, which extended to the big battle finale that had as much heart, a key winning element from Chow's A Chinese Odyssey films, to move when themed against the notion of sacrifice. The final twenty minutes was a fitting climax, building up upon a series of very smart episodes, which included, on a higher level, how scriptures are based on love.

And this romance between Xuan Zang and Ms Duan forms the crux of the story, like in A Chinese Odyssey, that drives the narrative forward. Shu Qi plays the much tomboyish demon hunter with aplomb, who has to dig deep to find her femininity in wooing Xuan Zang, and who would have guessed she looked so comfortable and credible in executing many of her martial arts scenes. Wen Zhang like others before him who have played the kind monk, was right at home with his performance, a little bumbling mixed with that tinge of innocence, and sheer determination in wanting to do good despite only having the best of intentions, and none of the skills. And amongst the other characters, all eyes are perhaps on Huang Bo's rendition of the Monkey King, which I can only say it's extremely different to begin with, and I'm sure some find the character design a little bit bewildering.

Then again, it's a retelling, so some decisions made may not sit well with others, but I thought it was a breath of fresh air, especially since it's probably the first time (in a long while maybe) that it took the stance of all the disciples being enemy combatants and demons. I can't rave enough about the finale that dealt with how the Monkey King got that golden headband of his, as it touches on the virtues of love and forgiveness all in one fell swoop, conspicuously making the deities of Journey missing and unnecessary in this story.

Chow as a director has somehow imparted his acting techniques from the many demeanours he had portrayed in the past, to probably each and every character here, so much so that everyone has shades of Chow's easily recognizable persona, especially when dealing with comic timing, and style. And like his recent lavish productions, this one is no different, which is full of CG effects, but polished and more of a tool to tell the story rather than drawing attention to themselves. But that doesn't mean that Chow has lost touch with his more humble beginnings, at times opting for practical gags that had served him well in the past, and low brow humour still ever-reliable in eliciting laughter.

Given a subtitle in this film, one can only hope there's a follow up of sorts, because the baseline has been set, the origins told, and what lies ahead are the countless of episodes in the troupe's perilous journey westwards to retrieve the Buddhist scriptures, which anyone could be taken and given a new narrative spin in similar treatment as this one. Stephen Chow once again showed that he still has that creative flair and streak within him, that even if he doesn't appear in front of the camera, he has what he takes behind it to deliver the best of his hey-days. One of the best films out of this Lunar New Year season!

Reviewed by MartinHafer7 / 10

A bit of a disappointment...but about as strange as you'd expect from Stephen Chow.

Perhaps the funniest and best Chinese movie I have seen is Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer. The film is thoroughly weird but also a laugh riot from start to finish. I also liked his Kung Fu Hustle. So, when I was offered a chance to see his film, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons I was excited…very excited. Sadly, while it is quite weird (which I appreciate),I was surprised that it just wasn't consistently funny. Still, even a disappointing film by Chow is worth a look.

To fully appreciate the film, it would help if you have some familiarity with Chinese classical literature. In this film, one of the main characters is the Monkey King (also known as Sun Wukong)—one of the characters in the super-famous Chinese novel Journey to the West. Much of the way he's portrayed in the film is actually based on this story… strange as it might seem! He has amazing magical powers and strength and was imprisoned for 500 years due to his hubris for challenging the gods. However, although I mentioned the Monkey King, the main character in this story is a very well meaning but totally inept demon hunter, Tang Sanzang. Again and again, Tang takes on demons—only to have his butt whipped and he always ends up getting rescued by Miss Duan—a real and amazingly talented demon hunter! Inexplicably, Miss Duan is infatuated with Tang—even though he pretty much looks like a hobo and doesn't reciprocate this love. Tang is like a monk in his devotion to his art and shuns all romance and affection. Eventually, however, the pair end up facing the formidable Monkey King—and their relationship is seriously tested and the pair are brought together.

The film really excels when it comes to its production values. Clearly, the Chinese can equal the best stuff coming from Hollywood with this film. It features stunning CGI, gorgeous music and simply looks breathtaking. Because of this, it is worth seeing just to see scenes such as the final epic battle between the Buddha and the Monkey King! As far as the weirdness goes, this film truly is strange. I would talk specifically about some of the weird demons Tang meets but I really think it's better to see them yourself! You WILL be amazed and some are absolutely insanely designed. But, unfortunately, unlike Shaolin Soccer, the film often drops the ball when it comes to combining this weirdness with laughs. Again and again, I found myself amazed but rarely amused. Now this isn't to say it's a bad film overall. But, compared to the best of Chow's work, it is a letdown. Oh, and if you are wondering, unlike these other two films I mentioned, Stephen Chow is not in this movie—he just directed, co-wrote and co-produced it…but that sure sounds like enough!

This film is available from Netflix and if you have a Netflix account, it is currently available there as well.

Reviewed by paul_haakonsen7 / 10

A small gem in the Chinese cinema...

A great take on the classic Chinese legend, and director Stephen Chow does it with his usual finesse and sense of mixing up comedy with action.

I must admit that I was a little bit skeptic at first, given the synopsis and the legend to which the movie is based upon. But with talents such as Stephen Chow behind the wheel, it just had to be experienced. And of course, also with the lovely Shu Qi in the movie it is not one to be missed.

There is a good amount of action throughout the movie matched up with good choreographed fighting and wire stunts. But it all comes together for an enjoyable end result, which is what matters. And the comedy throughout the movie was great. If you enjoyed "Kung Fu Soccer" or "Kung Fu Hustle", then you will also enjoy "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons", no doubt about it.

The costumes and sets were great and really added a lot to the movie. But also hats off to the special effects team. They really managed to pull it off quite nicely, and these demons were quite interesting to look at, yet convincing enough to appear real. So thumbs up for that.

There is a nice continuous flow to the movie, where the alternation between comedy, action and romance is a good change of pace and makes for a great roller-coaster experience.

It should be said that "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons" is the type of movie that you will only fully enjoy if you have an interest in Chinese cinema and more or less an interest in Chinese mythology.

The cast was good, and there was a great chemistry between Shu Qi and Zhang Wen on the screen, both in a comedy way, but also during the action sequences.

"Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons" scores an easy 7 out of 10 stars from me.

Read more IMDb reviews