Stephen Chow’s Journey To The West is a very loose retelling of a 16th century tale about a monkey king. But you don’t need to know too much about Chinese literature (or Chow’s 2013 movie) to understand what’s happening in the sequel, a psychedelic action comedy/fantasy where a monkey, a pig, and a fish follow a slightly clueless monk around while trying to atone for their sins. The cast is completely different this time, and Chow wrote the screenplay but handed over the directorial reins. The band of misfit demon hunters encounter some terrifying lady spider monsters before getting sucked into a much bigger trap. The odyssey is frantic and doesn’t make a ton of sense, but who cares when everything is so colorful and trippy and action-packed.
Despite some crossover potential – pop star Kris Wu as the monk, former NBA athlete Mengke Bateem as the dopey fish – this one won’t be around long. It was the #1 movie in China last week – Chinese New Year being the cinematic equivalent of Christmas here – but it’s playing on only a handful of screens in the US, so Sony’s not really promoting it at all. There were fewer than ten of us in the audience at the Saturday night 3-D screening.