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The Golden Monk

Opening Date
23 Nov 2017
PG13 Some Violence
91 mins
Mandarin - subtitles to be advised
Comedy, Fantasy
Wong Jing, Billy Chung
Zheng Kai, Zhang Yu Qi, Evonne Hsieh, Mao Junjie, Law Kar Ying
In the Xuanguang Temple resides a Buddhist monk with supernatural powers named Butong (Zheng Kai). One day, Butong’s mentor, Kong, is struck by lightning and realises that he is the reincarnation of Crouching Tiger Arhat, who came to the human world to give guidance to Butong. Butong was the original Golden Child, punished by God to experience life and death one hundred times as he broke a sacred rule by falling in love with another fairy, Jade (Zhang Yuqi). While Golden Child’s memories were erased, Jade refused to forget their love and accumulated goodwill over one hundred reincarnations…
By Jason Lin  25 Nov 2017
This is no Thor, mind you, but there is a senseless scene of cheap jokes referencing a few Marvel superheroes if one is interested.
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Filmmaking may be a form of expression for one to share perspective, it is often good to impose self-limitation to prevent disastrous overindulgence. Restraint was much needed in Wong Jing’s latest action fantasy period film The Golden Monk.
Attempting to create and introduce characters randomly throughout the film without any consideration of consequences within the film is the first taboo. Characters, no matter how small their part in the film, are intended pieces of the film puzzle and should never be used for instilling superficial production values. It is not critical to have several characters played by nubile female cast members who spend most of their time in cleavage-revealing period costumes. What matters is that they contribute towards the overall story and theme(s), which they unfortunately do not.
Mashing together various Chinese mythological and religious influences, Wong centres his attention on the romance between Jintong (Ryan Zheng) and Yunu (Kitty Zhang) that finds them banished by celestial authorities to the mortal realm for wasting the harvest of some longevity peaches that deities had been waiting for over the past three thousand years. This is no Thor, mind you, but there is a senseless scene of cheap jokes referencing a few Marvel superheroes if one is interested.
Down to earth, Wong finds plenty of excuses to splurge on CG where various demons wreak havoc. There are spiders, snakes, giant thorny fish, and a cyclops among others. They aren’t the most polished looking ones, which is observed in a couple of scenes suffering from head-shaking frame-rate stutter.
If it was not a calamity already, the screenwriters pile on tasteless humour that became a failed attempt to replicate elements of Stephen Chow in The Golden Monk. The servings of cheesy jokes are also extended enough to convince viewers that they’ve just squandered a perfect evening that could have been better enjoyed elsewhere.
The Golden Monk is not (even one of) the Eighteen Arhats to bring light to the already competitive Chinese film market. The film or its filmmaker(s) may need to be banished to some thousand years of self-reflection for producing something that degrades today’s well-established Chinese cinema.
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Trailers / Videos
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