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Monster Hunt 2

Zhuo Yao Ji 2
2018 / 110m - China
Comedy, Fantasy
Monster Hunt 2 poster

Considering the success of the first film, I'm not surprised the sequel didn't take too long to materialize. Raman Hui returns as director, so does the core of the primary cast. The only big surprise there is that they actually managed to convince Tony Leung Chiu-Wai to take up the lead role, that's quite an upgrade for a film of this stature.

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The concept of the film hasn't changed a bit. Monster Hunt 2 is a pleasant mix of comedy, fantasy, action and adventure, blending whatever is popular and draws people to the movie theater. Hui keeps a pretty decent balance though, making sure that no genre drowns out another.

Sadly the biggest problem is still here. The monsters/creatures look like generic, unattractive big blobs of CG. It's definitely a stylistic choice, because technically the CG isn't all that bad, and they blend in with the real world well enough. It's just that design-wise they look like a toddler crafted them. Monster Hunt 2 is more of the same, which makes it a decent blockbuster, but nothing more.

Monster Hunt

Zhuo Yao Ji
2015 / 117m - China
Fantasy, Action
Monster Hunt poster

Another Chinese blockbuster that gets dragged down by some horrendous CG. It's been a common theme with Chinese blockbusters this past decade, then again many of these films have had amazing box office success, so I doubt it's going to change any time soon. At least be warned when you decide to watch this film, your average console game has better CG.

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It's a shame because the rest of the film is quite nice. A typical fantasy epic delivering a solid mix of comedy, action and fantasy in a historic setting. Production values are lush, the action looks cool enough and while the comedy is no doubt an acquired taste, the presence of actors like Eric Tsang and Sandra Kwan helps a lot.

The monster designs are terrible though. Appalling lumps of bad CG that stand in heavy contrast with everything else on screen. I did get used to them somewhat throughout the film, but it's really a missed opportunity for a film that is supposed to put these creatures front and center. Fans of Chinese fantasy epics are sure to get some kicks out of this one, but it's far from perfect.

Shrek 3

2007 / 93m - USA
Animation, Comedy, Fantasy
Shrek 3 poster