The Monkey King: Reborn                  review by Bobby Blakey

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Over the years there have been many takes on the legend of the Monkey King in films and TV. The most popular is the film series that starred both Donnie Yen and Aaron Kwok taking on the role of Sun Wukong aka The Monkey King. Now Well Go USA is bringing the latest animated adaptation with The Monkey King: Reborn from director Yunfei Wang. Could this new version bring something new to the legacy of the king or will it fail to be worthy of the legend?

The Monkey King: Reborn follows the short-tempered trickster Monkey King after he is insulted while visiting a temple with his master Tang Monk, he destroys a magical tree and accidentally releases the ancient King of Demons, who kidnaps Tang Monk as revenge for his long imprisonment. Now, Monkey King and his fellow disciples must rescue their master within three days, before the Demon King regains his full power and unleashes his armies to destroy the earth.

​As ridiculous as the live action films are there is something that has always entertained me with this mythos. I have always felt it better served for animation so when this was announced I was eager to see what they pulled off. Diving into it the animation style and tone reminded me of the films Ne Zha and Jiang Ziya from the Fengshen Cinematic Universe, but it is its own thing.

 

The story is pretty in line with the other films that have taken on this legend while bringing its own fun to the mix. The characters are all here that we have grown to love alongside the Monkey King and have all been brought to vibrant life. The film features tons of martial arts mystical action that is well executed and alongside the beautiful animation is a feast for the senses.

I was surprised to the level of violence it delivers especially in the final act. It’s

not gory or anything, but pulls no punches delivering death and broken bones. I would love this to be connected to the Fengshen Cinematic Universe to get all these characters together, but alas it wasn’t to be. At least not yet. Hope this one does well enough to get to see these always fun characters return for another adventure. Be sure to stick through the credits for another scene midway through.   

 

If you are a fan then grab your copy of The Monkey King when it hits digital, Blu-ray and DVD on December 7th from Well Go USA.