The Monkey King 3 review by Bobby Blakey
In 2014, Donnie Yen took on the role of the Monkey King for the feature film aptly titled The Monkey King that was then followed by the 2016 sequel The Monkey King 2 with Aaron Kwok returning to the film but this time taking on the role fo the Monkey King. Now the next chapter of the series aptly titled The Monkey King 3 brings back all the cast from the last film, but does it offer up the same fantasy world or will it fail to make the journey?
The Monkey King 3 follows return of the Monkey King and his companions who are continuing their epic journey to the West, but are taken captive by the Queen of an all-female land, who believes them to be part of an ancient prophecy heralding the fall of her kingdom. With a lot of sorcery and a little bit of charm, the travelers devise a plan to escape. But when their trickery angers the mighty River God, they realize they might just bring about the foretold destruction - unless they can find a way to quell her wrath. Much like the previous entry, this is not your typical martial arts film as it does feature some decent action, but it relies heavily on the supernatural effects and visuals than anything else. There is obviously the silly nature of it all when you first see it with the Monkey King traveling around with a blue man and pig faced guy, but as you get more invested you just buy into it all just as if it was something like Lord of the Rings or an alien from Star Wars.
The story is fine and works to keep the story light without getting too deep, but unlike the last film went a bit more silly at times complete with mysterious pregnancies and a talking piece of paper. While there are plenty of theme here that are obviously more towards the adults the overall look and feel come off more like a kids film. There are moments that are pretty silly and take you out of what the film really wants to be, but if you just let the fantasy of it all take hold it is actually pretty fun.
There is plenty of action, but it is far from some of the best martial arts in cinema, but it’s not trying to be. They are all in with the use of these characters supernatural abilities. Visually this movie is gorgeous from beginning to end. The choice of keeping all the colors so bright makes it a visual treat for the senses that works on every level even when things are darker. The backgrounds and colors kind of become a character in itself and work to keep the tone of each character feel new and different while all being a part of the same universe. The effects are great, but you can see that they were designed for 3D so seeing them in 2D is a bit distracting sometimes, but not so much it hurts the finished film.
Everyone does a good job here with Kwok seeming a bit sillier this time around as the monkey king. This is a film that won’t work for everyone because it is a bit out there and silly at times, but I have always loved the stories of the Monkey King in their varying incarnations so found myself all in here as well.
Grab your copy of Monkey King 3 when it hits Digital, Blu-ray and DVD on May 15th from Well Go USA.