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2018 - Monster Hunt 2
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yitian



Joined: 06 Jul 2011
Posts: 1958
Location: United States

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Review: MONSTER HUNT 2, Tony Leung and Wuba for the Win

Raman Hui directs Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Bai Baihe, Jing Boran, Yo Yang, Da Peng and Chris Lee.
James Marsh
Asian Editor; Hong Kong, China (@Marshy00)
Yesterday, 5:30 am
http://screenanarchy.com/2018/02/review-monster-hunt-2-tony-leung-and-wuba-for-the-win.html

Wuba, the radish-shaped heir to the monster throne, is in trouble again, but this time Tony Leung Chiu Wai is on hand to protect him in Raman Hui’s big budget sequel, Monster Hunt 2. Bai Baihe and Jing Boran reprise their roles as Wuba’s adoptive human parents, with their reunion proving the ultimate goal in this family-focused fantasy adventure.

After making a name for himself at DreamWorks, Hong Kong native Raman Hui returned home to helm his first feature length film, an ambitious blend of period live-action and cutting-edge CG effects. Monster Hunt, released in the summer of 2015, proved a smash hit, especially in mainland China, where it grossed over RMB1 Billion in just over a week. Strategically targeting the Chinese New Year holiday, Monster Hunt 2 looks set to repeat that success and be one of the biggest moneymakers of 2018.

On the run once again from the Evil Monster King, Wuba meets a protective monster named Benben, secret sidekick of compulsive gambler Tu (Leung). With significant debts hanging over his head, Tu initially plans to hand over Wuba to Lady Zhu (Chris Lee), but after spending some time with the tentacled little tyke, he warms to him and instead becomes Wuba's protector.

Meanwhile, Xiaolan (Bai) and Tianyin (Jing) are looking to further their careers as monster hunters, and head for the Monster Hunters Bureau, where Tianyin’s missing father was once a notable member. They soon discover that MHB Agent Brother Yun (Yo Yang) is also searching for Wuba, insisting that the undocumented monster must stand trial if he is to remain in the Human World. Sensing that their ward is in danger once again, Xiaolan and Tianyin go after him, and all parties converge in Clear Water Town.

Featuring the same top-drawer effects work as its predecessor, Monster Hunt 2 strikes a far more consistent tone this time around. The simplified narrative allows more time for broad belly laughs and indulging Wuba’s too-cute antics. Suffice to say, fans of fart and pee jokes will not be left wanting. There are fun little details along the way, such as how Benben drives Tu’s car Flinstones’ style, or how anyone Wuba spits on can see through his eyes whenever the little monster screams. There’s also a scene-stealing cameo from Da Peng, as an oddly seductive weapons designer with a crippling crush on Xiaolan.

Most surprising, however, is Tony Leung, and how committed he is to a role he could so easily have phoned in. While Tu's character arc will hardly surprise anyone, Leung brings his effortless charisma to this flawed shyster. Acting the majority of his scenes opposite CGI characters that were added later, Leung is never less than wholly invested, even making you forget that half the time he’s onscreen, Tu is wearing a pantomime tiger costume. One can only hope that Monster Hunt 2 encourages the celebrated 55-year-old to return to doing comedy more regularly.

Boasting gorgeous visuals, A-list stars, fast-paced fantasy action, an adorable central character and enough toilet humour to make a 6-year-old blush, Monster Hunt 2 covers all the bases for a successful Chinese New Year blockbuster, catering to seemingly every possible audience demographic a single family might produce. While not a perfect film by any means, this colourful, light-hearted romp, propelled by a wholesome message about the importance of family, is quintessential holiday fare.
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yitian



Joined: 06 Jul 2011
Posts: 1958
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Monster Hunt 2': Review
By John Berra17 February 2018
https://www.screendaily.com/reviews/monster-hunt-2-review/5126774.article

Tony Leung jumps in to the Chinese monsterverse with gusto, and has already helped it break records

‘Monster Hunt 2’
Dir: Raman Hui. China. 2018. 110 mins

When a Hollywood sequel needs a boost of star power, the major studios can call on the commercially potent ‘franchise Viagra’ that is Dwayne Johnson. Based on Monster Hunt 2, the Chinese equivalent of ‘The Rock’ in this respect is Tony Leung Chiu-wai, since the actor’s irresistible charm is one of the main reasons that this sprightly follow-up to 2015’s surprise fantasy blockbuster is considerably more enjoyable than the cluttered original.

Evidently in an easygoing phase of his career as he filmed this between frivolous romantic-comedy See You Tomorrow (2016) and upcoming caper Europe Raiders (2018), Tony Leung is a delight throughout

Given that its predecessor was China’s biggest grossing film of all time, before being surpassed by The Mermaid (2016), then Wolf Warrior 2 (2017), such presumably expensive star insurance on top of a heavy visual effects outlay may seem unnecessary. Set in an ancient past where humans and monsters co-exist, Monster Hunt was such a phenomenon that unofficial dolls of its cute, radish-like baby creature Wuba were hurriedly produced in vast quantities to meet unanticipated overnight demand. However, since its box office triumph, Monster Hunt has been tainted by the stigma of falsified ticket sales while the taste of China’s multiplex audience changes so quickly that a sequel is never a sure thing.

Now that Monster Hunt 2 has set a local opening day record with takings of $85 million in a reportedly cleaned-up ticket market, it’s fair to say that sequel fatigue has been averted and that this is now a bona fide series. With its simple message that family should stick together, this entry will strike a chord through the Lunar New Year holidays, likely topping the original’s total by the end of its run. Possibly having taken notice of international criticism leveled at the first film’s elaborate world building, director Raman Hui and his writing team have streamlined the narrative while jettisoning the questionable jokes about serving up monsters as gourmet dishes. These adjustments may help Monster Hunt 2 fare reasonably well overseas, while the presence of Wong Kar-wai’s favorite leading man could pique curiosity.

The story picks up with Wuba, the heir to the monster kingdom, back in his world, while his human parents, Xiaolan (Bai Baihe) and Tianyin (Jing Boran) are trying to develop their careers as monster hunters by ingratiating themselves with the Monster Hunters Bureau. When a new dark lord arises and declares his intention to get rid of Wuba, the innocent tyke is forced to go on the run again and hooks up with compulsive gambler Tu Sigu (Leung), who owes so much money around Clear Water Town, he has to don a disguise to play mahjong.

Tu’s arc is similar to that of Xiaolan and Tianyin in the original as after almost selling Wuba to cover his debt to the domineering Lady Zhu (Li Yuchun), he instead finds himself warming to the little monster, despite his generally self-centered nature. Meanwhile, Xiaolan and Tianyin are searching for their son having realised he is in trouble through Xiaolan’s vivid dreams, which puts them at odds with the formidably skilled Brother Yun (Yo Yang) of the Monster Hunters Bureau who maintains that all undocumented monsters must stand trial if they want to remain in the human world.

Although these story strands receive roughly equal attention before converging in Clear Water Town, the exploits of the shameless Tu are more entertaining than those of the moralising Xiaolan and Tianyin. Evidently in an easygoing phase of his career as he filmed this between frivolous romantic-comedy See You Tomorrow (2016) and upcoming caper Europe Raiders (2018), Leung is a delight throughout. Whether bantering with his mostly animated co-stars, posing as a magician’s assistant in a tiger costume, or being subjected to tickle torture by one of Lady Zhu’s henchwomen, he’s cheekily playful yet completely respectful of the world that has been constructed around him.

This ancient time was rather messily rendered in the first film wherein the pantomime sets sometimes clashed with variable CGI, but this sequel is a noticeably smoother effort. Special effects are more organic as humans and monsters appear to share the screen, often in disarming fashion, while production design is lively, especially the casino sets that are used for chaotic chase scenes once Tu’s fellow players realise who is behind the false moustache and rubber nose. The action sequences have an energetic, knockabout Hong Kong quality with editors Cheung Ka-fai and David Richardson making sure that the colorful spectacle is never too maddening to follow.

Set to Leon Ko’s jaunty score, it all moves at a zippy pace with plenty of toilet humor to amuse youngsters while grown-ups will get awkward laughs from watching Xiaolan’s gently flirtatious manipulation of an oddball weapons inventor (Da Peng) result in a full-blown, unrequited crush. There are less gender reversal jokes this time as the docile Tianyin develops his skillset and the fearless Xiaolan finds her maternal instincts coming through, although she is still responsible for their relationship’s forward momentum.

It’s not until the end credits roll that one realises that Monster Hunt 2 is essentially an amiable detour in a bigger story, or enterprise, since Wuba is no closer to fulfilling his destiny. Yet when you have a star of Tony Leung’s magnitude selling out with such panache, it seems churlish to complain.

Production company/international sales: Edko Films
US distribution: Lionsgate
Producers: William Kong, Yee Chung Man, Doris Tee
Screenplay: Sunny Chan, Jack Ng, Chan, Su Liang
Cinematography: Anthony Pun
Production design: Guillaume Aretos, Lee Kin Wai
Editors: Cheung Ka-fai, David Richardson
Music: Leon Ko
Main Cast: Tony Leung, Bai Baihe, Jing Boran, Li Yuchun, Yo Yang, Da Peng
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yitian



Joined: 06 Jul 2011
Posts: 1958
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Berlin Film Festival 2018
Zhuo yao ji 2 (Monster Hunt 2)
Lindsay Bellinger
https://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2018/02/18/berlin-film-festival-2018-zhuo-yao-ji-2-monster-hunt-2-review/

“Monsters only spit on the ones they like.” So says BenBen the chameleon-like large monster who shields Wuba, an animated radish-shaped baby monster, from harm’s way a number of times. The follow-up to the 2015 Chinese action-animation blockbuster Monster Hunt, Raman Hui’s Zhuo yao ji 2 (Monster Hunt 2) is a Berlinale Special Gala presentation at this year’s festival.

The sequel starts off with a Bollywood-esque song and dance number that ends with the monsters shedding their human forms. Wuba is hunted by humans, monsters and his two human parents. The notorious gambler Tu Siga (the delightfully playful Tony Chiu Wai Leung) owes a great debt to Boss Chu – aka Little Chu when he wants to be sweet on her. He’s also onboard.

The striking visuals, especially during the lightning-fast fighting and gambling scenes, are quite entertaining and fun. Non-stop action and imagery place this film in a category of its own. The camera floats above the action and quickly moves to another location. Although the martial arts may not be as intricate as in other Chinese/Hong Kong films, Monster Hunt 2 still manages to be fresh and unique. Hui’s extended history with animation is on full display, adding a certain special calibre to the movie – the director and his team of animators really outdid themselves.

The delightful music composed by Leon Ko effectively ties the emotional, comic and fight sequences together. It’s a wild ride. Some of the emotions portrayed by Wuba’s parents feel a bit over the top, but the campy nature of the film seems to balance it out. The family bonding and reunion themes bring to mind parents who were forced or encouraged to give up their children. The initial apology to Wuba is a tad intense and well-placed but the repeated apologising almost cheapens the value and sincerity.

In terms of story, Monster Hunt 2 isn’t really that different from its predecessor, although it’s action-packed and quick enough to satisfy mainstream audiences.

3 out of 5 stars
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Safran



Joined: 22 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds great Applause Applause Applause
...especially Tony's part !
I can't wait to watch Rolling Eyes Very Happy
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yitian



Joined: 06 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Safran wrote:
......I can't wait to watch Rolling Eyes Very Happy

Still have time to go to Berlin. You will make one certain person very happy Wink Laughing .
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Safran



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This would have been great, of course ! Confused Rolling Eyes
But fortunatly all interested can join a little Heike's new Berlinale adventure at "Get to know each other" -section Very Happy
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Tin-Yau



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yitian wrote:
Safran wrote:
......I can't wait to watch Rolling Eyes Very Happy

Still have time to go to Berlin. You will make one certain person very happy Wink Laughing .


Hey, I even would have a spare bed in my room! Welcome!
_________________
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ham



Joined: 22 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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ham



Joined: 22 Oct 2004
Posts: 1245
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Making of
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFZGG60F5MY
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ham



Joined: 22 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tony and Benben are very cute and funny from this video. Laughing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABX3G_iZl80
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yitian



Joined: 06 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That tail hahaha! Thanks ham Razz
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Safran



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing....and the "paws" !....haha

Thank you too, ham thumbleft
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