Opening: ‘The Monkey King 3’

dfn-monkey-king-3-300The Monkey King 3 is the third in a series, based on the classic Journey to the West. The source material is well-known to Chinese audiences, which allows the filmmakers to feature their own riffs amidst the comic misadventures.

It’s a historical action fantasy, with the emphasis on fantasy, colorful costumes, and extravagant 3D action. This installment focus on “Ladyland,” a region where only women live, enabling a fresh set of stereotypes to be exploited. Aaron Kwok returns as the Monkey King, though much of the story follows his monk companion (Feng Shaofeng) and the temptations of love between the merry group of travelers and the dominant women. And yes, those extravagant fighting scenes!

Soi Cheang once again directs, and he has a good handle on the series, balancing the action with comedy and romance. The Monkey King 3 is a step down from the previous installment, but the series’ willingness to play around with well-established formulas is refreshing in itself, especially for Western audiences.

The film opens today at the Cinemark Legacy in Plano.

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