Movie Review #20- Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons

Xuan Zang (Zhang Wen from Love Is Not Blind) is a professional demon-hunter -and an unshaved Buddhist Monk (his description) who doesn’t just hunt demons, he tries to get the demons to turn back into good beings. Qi Shu (the Transporter, The Eye 2) plays Miss Duan who has a more no nonsense approach to demon hunting. They cross paths after a fish demon emerges from a river and attacks a man in front of his young daughter. The villagers seek out what they believe has killed the man (with help from Kung Fu Hustle‘s Min Hun Fung) and are very displeased when Xuan Zang tells them that the demon is still loose. They jump in the water to prove it’s all clear and immediately start pranking each other and fail to realize when another is being attacked by the demon (reminiscent of Jaws).

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Xuan Zang get’s the fish out of water where he turns back to a man and the demon-hunter gets to work. But the ritual is interrupted by Miss Duan who traps the demon and not so humbly receives the accolades. Xuan Zang runs to his master who tells him that the demon used to be a man who saved a child from drowning but was mistaken for a kidnapper and killed by the villagers and fed to fish which led to to his demonic manifestation in the river. His master encourages him to keep at it… and he does, but he keeps running into Miss Duan, who soon finds herself falling for him as they hunt a pig demon.

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Miss Duan, finding her love unrequited resorts to a series of ill thought out schemes involving obedience charms, faking a kidnapping, a wedding ring he can’t take off… but as their paths cross again and again; will she come around to his ways? Will he come to love her, too? Or will they lose each other and even themselves?

A zany bunch of demon-hunters join them to battle for the title of best demon-hunter as they face the ultimate challenger. 

“He’s braver than any of us. He dares to fight demons with Nursery Rhymes and not even for fame or fortune. That is a man of true courage.” -Miss Duan

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Steven Chow director of Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle adds his vision along with Derek Kwok, both also helped pen the screenplay. The CGI is over the top and wonky, the scenery is lush and beautiful, there’s a ridiculous steampunk coach. Perfect combination of martial arts, super silly special effects, cartoony characters, magical folktale elements and always double-backing for a friend. Underneath all the crazy weird effects and wild supernatural themes is a story about the greater love and finding the good inside everyone. A fun and action packed flick with sequel potential in theaters TODAY (March 7th) 

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