Being able to appreciate a film that is unique is something that should be easy to do. It’s something that someone like me welcomes as long as it is accompanied with a great story that also has the potential to be engrossing. When looking at Monkey King 3, you certainly have a piece of work that’s different from what’s considered normal in America, but I can’t say that it provides the kind of cinematic qualities that are needed to truly leave a mark.
This third installment of a series of a popular franchise in China follows the Monkey King (Aaron Kwok) and his companions continuing their journey west when they are apprehended and held captive on an all-female piece of land called Womanland of the Western Liang. Here, it’s a crime to be a man as they are seen as poisonous creatures that should be avoided at all cost. In the face of seemingly impossible odds, the crew must devise a plan to escape the Queen, the threat of an ancient prophecy and the potential negative effects of love.
Monkey King 3 is a spectacle in a lot of ways as it hopes to attract you with its eccentric style and tone just as much as it wants to with its story and characters. What you’re watching here could accomplish that as you may be into the odd nature of filmmaking that’s being presented even if you find yourself not necessarily loving any of the particular parts of the movie. That’s an weird thing to say, but that’s honestly what you may get out of this if and when you get around to watching it.
Something like this could make waves in China, but this would be a risk not worth taking if there happened to be an American production company developing it. In fact, there’s no way something even somewhat resembling this would ever be created over here in the United States. There’s a large part of me that understands the reasons behind that, but a part of me would also be interested in finding out how a picture like this would get made if studios were open to it.
Wrapped in all of its absurdities and imagination that we sit through in this flick is a love story. Surrounding these portions that place the focus solely on love, they throw plenty of things around to keep you engaged and hopefully amused. During these periods, you’ll also notice that they don’t keep the spotlight on this strong emotion and the many elements the come with it as much as they probably should. Depending on who you are and what you’re looking for, this could help or hurt your experience.
For most, this would likely be something that hurts more than helps. There were times while watching it that I just wanted things to speed up. Sure, some of what we get is delightful, but it lingers on too long at times where they could have easily just moved on a bit faster. While I don’t think speeding everything up could have potentially turned this into a fantastic movie, I believe that making this shorter, gives you a nice, quick and quirky piece of cinema that people could find appealing.
With all that said, the flaws in picture don’t have a completely devastating impact on everything that we watch throughout its duration. There are plenty of things that I found humorous and lively due to its inventive premise and preposterous approach. However, I wouldn’t be able to recommend Monkey King 3 unless it’s your type of movie. If not, I guess you can still get some value out of it, but you’ll probably come out of it feeling that a shorter run time would have made for a better overall experience.
Director: Soi Cheang
Film Length: 114 minutes
Release Date: February 16, 2018 (U.S.)
Distributor: Well Go USA Entertainment
- Score - 5/105/10