Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons
Scott Hardie: “It sucked.”
Wow. Just wow. What a terrible, terrible movie. Has Stephen Chow changed, or have I? I enjoyed his silly live-action cartoons Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, but his CJ7 made a huge misstep by trying to be partially serious and failing to pull off the right tone. His newest film manages to be even worse: It fails as an action movie because it has very little satisfying action in it, it fails as a comedy because it has too much sobering material (murdered toddlers for example), it fails as a drama because its characters aren't remotely plausible, and it fails as a romance because its lead characters are intensely dislikable. Maybe it works as a cartoon; the CGI is fairly impressive, and the closest that the movie gets to being funny is just how willing it is to bend reality like rubber in the interest of another joke, which is Chow's trademark. Or maybe it works as a realization of the Chinese legend on which it's based; I don't know enough about Chinese culture to judge. But I know that I was mightily disappointed by this tonally inappropriate mismash of genres in which not a scene went by without a groan at how awful it was. Sticking to pure comedy, and not asking us to take his characters seriously, would be the only hope of Chow making a movie worth seeing again.
Scott Hardie: I was floored that this turd of a film had managed to score a 93% on the TomatoMeter, until I realized that Rotten Tomatoes had gotten it confused with the serious art film Journey to the West that played in American theaters at the same time, whose existence I presume is responsible for the "Conquering the Demons" subtitle of Stephen Chow's film. − July 12, 2014 more by Scott