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Stephen Chow, director of KUNG FU HUSTLE, is back! See JOURNEY TO THE WEST this weekend

JOURNEY TO THE WEST: CONQUERING THE DEMONS screens in advance of its release courtesy of Fantastic Fest On Tour!

Stephen Chow, director of KUNG FU HUSTLE, is back! See JOURNEY TO THE WEST this weekend

I have not yet seen JOURNEY TO THE WEST: CONQUERING THE DEMONS. I missed it at Fantastic Fest and was bummed that I would seemingly have to wait until next year before I could see the new movie from the director of SHAOULIN SOCCER and KUNG FU HUSTLE. And then I found out we would be screening it this weekend at Vintage Park thanks to Fantastic Fest On Tour and there was much rejoicing. Join me this Sunday for a screening of what looks like an absolutely amazing film. Here are excerpts from a review by Badass Digest's Evan Saathoff:

No one out there right now is funny quite the same way Stephen Chow is funny. His trademark combination of Looney Tunes goofiness, silent film physical comedy and situational escalation, and massive, Godlike feats of computer generated martial arts (these days, anyway) is still his and his alone.

JOURNEY TO THE WEST offers yet another solid display of these unique talents. While it lacks an actual Chow performance, there's no mistaking who made this film. There's one character named Almighty Foot. His foot is so big that he sits atop of like a stick coming out of a popsicle. Except when he's not using it. Then it sticks out of him like the appendage of a flipper baby. This is my kind of insanity.

The plot for JOURNEY TO THE WEST is a little smaller than I expected. Chow stand-in Wen Zhang stars as Tang Sanzang, a young demon hunter who refuses to fight monsters with violence, preferring instead to sing them nursery rhymes in hopes of appealing to the human underneath the demon. It doesn't work. This pacifism makes him particularly ill-suited to capture an especially powerful and violent pig demon on the loose. To get the firepower he needs, he must travel to a massive Buddha shrine and gain the aid of the Monkey King, a mischievous demon who has been trapped under the shrine for 500 years.

The film features a lot of fun characters (each of whom could honestly have their own film) but revolves mostly around a trio. There's Tang Sanzang of course, but he's equally matched if not surpassed by Shu Qi as Miss Duan, a rival and very formidable demon hunter who falls in love with and endlessly hounds him to take her hand in marriage. Rounding out this group is Huang Bo as The Monkey King. Bo is incredible, somehow able to always convey a sense of goofy malice and weird physicality that keeps all his scenes pretty exciting. There are only a couple scenes shared by all three, but they are a joy.

The film is outstandingly entertaining. The idea of someone enjoying Stephen Chow but not liking JOURNEY TO THE WEST surely defies some entertainment corner of physics. This is a big entry into the filmography, not an interesting diversion like CJ7 (which I also enjoy), making it one of the safer bets out there, so definitely see it if you get the chance. You will laugh your ass off. Then a couple minutes later you'll see the Earth-sized hand of Buddha crush a gorilla. Now go do what you must with those boners you just got.

Buy your tickets!


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