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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Adventure > Mythology > Martial Arts Cycle > China > Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons (2013/Magnolia/Magnet Blu-ray)

Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons (2013/Magnolia/Magnet Blu-ray)

Picture: B Sound: B Extras: A Film: C+

Long ago when there were demons and demon hunters, all that demon hunters had to do was kill the demon, every hunter but Xuan Zang. Xuan Zang (Zhang Wen) was the only one who believe in reformation and redemption of the demons, but after many failures he starts to question his own methods. He is repeatedly save by a female Demon Hunter, who oddly falls for him for and respects his peaceful ways and journeys with him, but while other Demon Hunters laugh at Xuan Zang's pacifist ways, Xuan Zang maybe the only one who can defeat the greatest of the demons in Stephen Chow's Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons (2013).

Xuan Zang is a lowly Buddhist monk who believes that demons are not at fault, and demons are misunderstood, and the result of people turn into demons are because of their own sins/karma. Only by accepting their sins can they truly find peace, be enlightened and then be forgiven. While the other demon hunters hunt because they want fame, glory and money, Zang does it for none of those thing. Zang must risks it all when he must face the greatest of demons, Zhu Bajie, Sha Wujing, and Sun Wukong and turn them into his disciples, together they will begin the greatest legend of all.

This is a parody of the Journey to the West legend of what was the origin story of greatest Buddhist monk before he became the famous. While Stephen Chow uses the names from the legend, nothing else came from the original story. While a lot of the scene were beautiful and the fight scenes were awesome, it was all too over the top and you couldn't take story seriously. And also unless you were Asian and knew the Journey to the West story you wouldn't get all culture references or half of the jokes. Since Kung-Fu Hustle (reviewed elsewhere on this site), Chow has become increasingly steeped in fantasy storytelling, but this might be one film too much in that direction.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image was shot on an Arri Alexa HD camera and looks good throughout, but has some flaws and limits, which is something considering 70mm IMAX blow-up prints were made. The DTS-HD (MA) Master Audio Mandarin 5.1 lossless mix is also decent, but this was originally issued in a Dolby Atmos 11.1 mix and one wonders why do not have a 7.1 track instead. Extra includes stunts & special effects, cast & characters, Stephen Chow, the laughs, production design, choreography and trailer.

- Ricky Chiang


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